Martin Kaymer takes a five-shot lead into the final round of the US Open even though tournament organisers ensured the Ryder Cup star would not be breaking many more records at Pinehurst.
Successive rounds of 65 meant Kaymer had equalled the lowest halfway total in major championship history (130), as well as eclipsing the US Open record of 131 set by Rory McIlroy at Congressional in 2011.
The 29-year-old’s six-shot halfway lead also matched the championship record shared by Tiger Woods (2000) and McIlroy (2011), but some fiendish pin positions meant only two of the 67 players to make the cut broke par on Saturday.
Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton carded matching rounds of 67 to finish three under par, while Sweden’s Henrik Stenson bogeyed the 18th to lie two under alongside Dustin Johnson, both players shooting 70.
Kaymer finished eight under par after three-putting four times in a round of 72 that could have been much worse if not for a stunning eagle on the fifth and a birdie from six feet on the last.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell were well off the pace and any hopes they had of winning the title again faded rapidly during the third round on Saturday.
Two-times major winner McIlroy carded a four-over-par 74 and goes into the final day 11 shots behind clear leader Martin Kaymer of Germany.
“Shooting five over for the front nine put me out of the tournament,” said the 25-year-old.
McIlroy is three over and said if he could get back to somewhere near level par on Sunday it could get him a top 10 finish.
“That is my target now. If I had kept it together and shot around par I might have had a bit of a chance,” he said after Saturday’s round.
“I got off to a pretty rough start. I played OK but just left myself in some difficult spots and could not get up and down.
“I played well in the back nine, pretty solid, and recovered it a little bit.
“But it was not what I was looking for a the start of the day.”
Graeme McDowell had a 75 to be on seven over for the tournament, 15 behind Kaymer.