PINEHURST, N.C. -- Martin Kaymer's first five holes on Sunday afternoon could be the most important stretch for him in the final round.
The 29-year-old German will have excellent birdie chances at Nos. 1, 3 and 5 that could put the tournament out of reach. He is 4 under for the week at the short, par-5 fifth. At 313 yards, the third hole will be drivable for him. In his second-round 65, Kaymer had a 2-putt birdie on the hole.
On Saturday, he missed a very makeable birdie putt at No. 1, which he birdied in the first round. At 390 yards, the hole is an iron off the tee for Kaymer.
At 528 yards, the dogleg left par-4 fourth hole doesn't set up perfectly for Kaymer, who prefers a fade off the tee with his driver. On Saturday, he pulled his driver left in the brush, but made a miraculous bogey after taking an unplayable penalty shot.
Yet with the pin located in the center-left portion of the green, he will have to be very precise off the tee to get a good look at that hole location.
The USGA has placed the tee markers at the fifth at the tips or the rear of the three teeing grounds. But this should pose no problem for Kaymer, whom with two good shots can reach this green in 2. It's one of the toughest greens to hit on the course, particularly with a long to mid-iron, but Kaymer's iron play has been very sharp through the first three rounds. He made eagle here on Saturday from the forward tees.
Kaymer expects to make birdies through this stretch of five holes. So look for him to come out aggressive and determined to not try to protect his 5-shot lead.