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PINEHURST, N.C. -- Much to his delight, Martin Kaymer discovered that Pinehurst No. 2 was even more different than he imagined in the U.S. Open. This wasnt the beast of a course that Kaymer and so many other players were expecting. This was a day for scoring. Kaymer made six birdies Thursday afternoon, three on the final five holes, that sent the 29-year-old German to the lowest score in three Opens held at Pinehurst No. 2. He made a 6-foot par putt on the 18th hole for a 5-under 65 and a three-shot lead. "It was more playable than I thought," he said. "I think that made a big difference mentally, that you feel like there are actually some birdies out there, not only bogeys." So much was made of the new look at No. 2, which was restored to its old look from more than a half-century ago. There also was plenty of talk that this U.S. Open would be as tough as any U.S. Open. When he finished his final day of practice Wednesday under a broiling sun, Kaymer was asked what it would take to win. "I said plus 8 because the way the golf course played on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday," he said. "But obviously, they softened the conditions a little bit so it was more playable. So hopefully, Im not right with the plus 8. I would be disappointed." Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell took the conservative route on his way to a 68 that featured 15 pars, one bogey, one birdie and one eagle. He was joined by Kevin Na, Brendon de Jonge and Fran Quinn, a 49-year-old who last played a U.S. Open in 1996, when Tiger Woods was still an amateur. "This was a golf course where I spent the last few days just preparing myself mentally for the challenge, really, knowing that this golf course wasnt going to give much and it was only going to take," McDowell said. "Im assuming they put some water on this place this morning. And we were able to take advantage of that a little bit early on and actually think about getting at some of those flags." Brandt Snedeker, who had a chance at 30 on his front nine, had to settle for being part of a large group at 69 that included 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson. The 15 players to shoot in the 60s were the most for an opening round at the U.S. Open since 24 players did it at rain-softened Olympia Fields in 2003. Phil Mickelson, in his latest quest to win the one major keeping him from the career Grand Slam, shot a 70. He was among the early starters, who received additional help by cloud cover that kept moisture in the greens. Mickelson doesnt expect Pinehurst to be any easier the rest of the week. "There was some low scoring out there -- some good scoring, I should say," he said. "Anything around par, its usually a good score." Masters champion Bubba Watson was among the exceptions. He shot a 76 and said, "This course is better than me right now." Graeme DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., is already well off the pace after shooting 75. The sun broke through shortly before noon and began to bake the course, though not enough to stop Kaymer. He watched some of the tournament on television in the morning, and he was particularly struck by the sight of Stensons 6-iron into the par-3 15th only rolling out a few feet. Kaymer expected it to roll off the green. "Last night I thought that its going to be very, very firm in the afternoon," he said. "But actually, it was more playable than I thought." Not everyone was able to take advantage. Defending champion Justin Rose had a 72, making his bid a little tougher to become the first repeat winner in 25 years. Adam Scott, the world No. 1 who has been formidable in every major the last two years except the U.S. Open, had a 73. Scott wasnt about to panic. Pinehurst only figures to get more difficult. "You know how its going to be at the end of the week," Scott said. "Were going to be looking at even par, or something around that." Kaymer picked up four birdies with relative ease -- three wedges to inside 3 feet, and a high draw with a 3-wood to about 20 feet on the par-5 fifth for a two-putt birdie. A few longer putts at the end really dressed up the score. He hit a 6-iron at the flag on the 16th hole and made a 12-foot birdie putt, and then hit another 6-iron at the par-3 17th to about 10 feet for birdie. Kaymer tied the course record with a 63 in the opening round when he won The Players Championship last month, ending a drought of some 18 months. That only boosted his confidence, and the 65 on Thursday only adds to it. Even so, he realizes its only one round, and that the course probably wont be so kind or gentle the rest of the way. "I would have never expected myself to shoot such a low round at Pinehurst ... but its a good round of golf," he said. "I wasnt expecting it. Im not freaking out about it. Its the first round of a very, very important tournament. I put myself so far in a good position, but we have three rounds to go. The golf course can change a lot. "If other people want to make more out of it, its fine," he said. "But for me, its a great start into one of the most important weeks of the year." Jesse Lingard Jersey . LaQuinton Ross scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half, hitting his first four 3-pointers, to send No. Danny Rose Jersey .com) - The Toronto Blue Jays will look to snap a three-game skid Friday night when they continue their road trip in the opener of a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. http://www.englandsoccerauthority.com/j ... nd-jersey/. -- Athletics manager Bob Melvin is already starting to run out of superlatives to describe Scott Kazmir. Trent Alexander-Arnold England Jersey .C. - Alberta prop Andrew Tiedemann will captain Canada against Uruguay on Friday, the opening day of competition at the IRB Americas Rugby Championship. Jack Butland England Jersey .com) - The St.Aston Villa should be considering Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy to lead them in Sky Bet Championship, according to Ian Holloway. McCarthy has a proven track record in the Championship, leading both Sunderland and Wolves to promotion and getting Ipswich into the play-offs last season on one of the smaller budgets in the division.Aston Villa, who have been an ever-present Premier League club before this seasons pending relegation, sacked Remi Garde in March. Mick McCarthy should be on the shortlist for the next Aston Villa job, without a shadow of a doubt, Holloway told Sky Sports. A play-off before the play-offs? We look at the permutations in a thrilling Championship promotion race I think Ipswich will do well to hold onto McCarthy this summer. Someone with his credibility and know-how will be hot property.A big rebuilding job will be required at Villa Park next season on and off the pitch. Villa must go for someone who knows the Championship and have seen it and done it before. Holloway on Villa Their relegation from the Premier League was followed by the immediate resignation of directors David Bernstein and Mervyn King, who were in the middle of a wholesale review of what had gone so desperately wrong this season.ddddddddddddHolloway believes in order for Villa to come back stronger they must hire a manager who knows how to negotiate his way through the slog of a Championship season. Villa must go for someone who knows the Championship and have seen it and done it before, Holloway said. Mick McCarthy (L) and Ian Holloway (R) have enjoyed many battles over the years Its going to take someone with real experience to clean up that mess. Its going to take down to earth talking. A straight talking person will need to lead and make the players believe again. That man will need to get the overpaid players who dont care out of the door. It will take someone with great skill to achieve that. Its massive job and someone has a huge job on their hands. Theyll be a long queue of people whod want that job - its a belting gig, but its one hell of a project. Get Sky Sports Alerts Breaking news, line ups and goal alerts from your football club - direct to your mobile Also See: Villa fixtures Villa stats Get a £10 free bet! Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL T-shirts Cheap Jerseys Online Stitched Jerseys Wholesale Throwback Jerseys Jerseys NFL Cheap Wholesale NFL Hoodies ' ' '


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