PINEHURST, N.C. — Martin Kaymer returned to the elite in golf with a U.S. Open victory that ranks among the best.
A forgotten star for two years while building a complete game, Kaymer turned the toughest test of golf into a runaway at Pinehurst No. 2 on Sunday to become only the seventh wire-to-wire winner in 114 years of the U.S. Open.
Kaymer closed with a 1-under 69 — the only player from the last eight groups to break par — for an eight-shot victory over Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient and the only player who even remotely challenged the 29-year-old German.
So dominant was Kaymer that no one got closer than four shots over the final 48 holes.
Only a late bogey kept Kaymer from joining Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy as the only players to finish a U.S. Open in double digits under par. He made a 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole, dropping his putter as the ball fell into the center of the cup, just like so many other putts this week.
"No one was catching Kaymer this week," Compton said, who closed with a 72 to earn earned a trip to the Masters next April. "I was playing for second. I think we all were playing for second."
This U.S. Open really ended on Friday.
Kaymer set the U.S. Open record with back-to-back rounds of 65 to set the pace at 10-under 130. He began Sunday with a five-shot lead, and after a 10-foot par save on the second hole, Kaymer belted a driver on the 313-yard third hole. The ball landed on the front of the green and rolled to the back, setting up a two-putt birdie.
"He kind of killed the event in the first two days," Henrik Stenson said. "He went out and shot two 65s and left everyone in the dust."