Putting Kaymer's lead in perspective

Martin Kaymer
USA Today Sports Images
Martin Kaymer will take a healthy lead into the final round of the U.S. Open. As history shows, though, his advantage isn't necessarily insurmountable -- at least not in this tournament.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Saturday, June 14, 2014 | 7:39 p.m.

If Martin Kaymer goes on to win the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 on Sunday, he will become the seventh golfer to win the tournament wire-to-wire. Here's the list of wire-to-wire winners in the U.S. Open:

- 1914, Walter Hagen
- 1921, Jim Barnes
- 1953, Ben Hogan
- 1970, Tony Jacklin
- 2000 and 2002, Tiger Woods
- 2011, Rory McIlroy

Of the previous 113 U.S. Opens played, the 54-hole leader has gone on to win 47 times.

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Kaymer will take a five-stroke lead into the final round over Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler. Kaymer, the 2011 PGA Champion, shot a 2-over 72 in the third round and sits at 8-under 202 for the tournament.

Here's a look at the largest 54-hole leads in U.S. Open history:

10 -- Tiger Woods (205), Pebble Beach G.L., Pebble Beach, Calif., 2000
7 -- James Barnes (217), Columbia C.C., Chevy Chase, Md., 1921
6 -- Fred Herd (244), Myopia Hunt Club, S. Hamilton, Mass., 1898
6 -- Willie Anderson (225), Baltusrol G.C., Springfield, N.J., 1903
6 -- Johnny Goodman (211), North Shore G.C., Glenview, Ill., 1933

Each of the five players listed above went on to win the tournament.

With a victory, Kaymer would become the first player to win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same season. It would also mark the first time since Tom Kite turned the trick in 1992 that a player wins tournaments on both Mother's Day and Father's Day in the same year.

Should Kaymer be caught on Sunday, it wouldn't be the biggest comeback by a winner in U.S. Open history. That belongs to Arnold Palmer, who overcame a seven-shot deficit to win the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills.

Here's a list of other great comebacks by U.S. Open winners:

6 strokes -- Johnny Miller (71-69-76-63), Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 1973
5 strokes -- Johnny Farrell (77-74-71-72), Olympia Fields (Ill.) C.C., 1928
5 strokes -- Byron Nelson (72-73-71-68), Philadephia C.C., West Conshohocken, Pa., 1939
5 strokes -- Lee Janzen (73-66-73-68), The Olympic Club, San Francisco, Calif., 1998
 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.