PINEHURST, N.C. -- Despite conditions expected to produce some bigger scores, Martin Kaymer lit up Pinehurst No. 2 like a Christmas tree in June.
Kaymer's 65 -- a record for lowest score at a Pinehurst US Open -- was particularly impressive since the 29-year-old German started in the afternoon when good scores were supposed to be more difficult to attain.
But as the day wore on, Kaymer only got better and his back-nine scorecard was a bloody beautiful thing.
The round as a whole was an improvement over Kaymer's expectations.
"I got asked [Wednesday] what score I would take for the whole week and I said 8 over par, so hopefully that's not going to happen," Kaymer said after his round Thursday. "Because the golf course, I thought, played a little more difficult on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, they must have put a little more water on the greens last night. I thought it was very playable. And even the afternoon, we could stop the ball fairly well on the greens.
"So I just didn't make many mistakes."
He certainly did not. And it's got him locked in as the top favorite heading into Friday's Championship action.
Martin Kaymer: 4-1 (Pre-Tournament: 40-1)
Henrik Stenson: 14-1 (PT: 25-1)
Jordan Spieth: 14-1 (PT: 25-1)
Phil Mickelson: 14-1 (PT: 14-1)
Matt Kuchar: 16-1 (PT: 25-1)
Rory McIlroy: 16-1 (PT: 10-1)
No shocker here: Kaymer's a signficant favorite, although 4-1 is pretty hefty. Stenson's interesting because of being placed above everyone else except Kaymer. With a mismash of names at one- and two-under, a lot of this is a toss-up for the next 24 hours.
Dustin Johnson: 22-1 (PT: 33-1)
Grame McDowell: 22-1 (PT: 40-1)
Hideki Matsuyama: 25-1 (PT: 40-1)
Keegan Bradley: 30-1 (PT: 66-1)
Kevin Na: 33-1 (PT: 100-1)
Adam Scott: 40-1 (PT: 12-1)
Brandt Snedeker: 40-1 (PT: 50-1)
Harris English: 40-1 (PT: 66-1)
Jimmy Walker: 40-1 (PT: 40-1)
Walker continues to be a sleeper guy on my list, especially since his pre-Open odds haven't moved. Scott could be worth a decent value shot at 40-1 just given how far he's fallen. Three-over is eight shots back but you can't completely rule him out. Snedeker played really well on the front nine in the morning Thursday so it's not out of the question he could light it up on Friday too.
Steve Stricker: 45-1 (PT: 40-1)
Brendon De Jonge: 50-1 (PT: 125-1)
Brendon Todd: 50-1 (PT: 100-1)
Charl Schwartzel: 50-1 (PT: 40-1)
Ian Poulter: 50-1 (PT: 50-1)
Justin Rose: 50-1 (PT: 25-1)
Rickie Fowler: 50-1 (PT: 66-1)
Webb Simpson: 55-1 (PT: 50-1)
Some of these names are really surprising. Webb backdoored his Open victory and Fowler only has one PGA Tour win, but those two guys are really talented golfers and a combined 1-over. They're certainly in the hunt but their odds haven't moved much.
Francesco Molinari 66-1 (PT: 100-1)
Paul Casey: 66-1 (PT: 100-1)
Victor Dubuisson: 66-1 (PT: 80-1)
Jason Day: 80-1 (PT: 28-1)
Jason Dufner: 80-1 (PT: 40-1)
Joost Luiten: 80-1 (PT: 125-1)
Louis Oosthuizen: 80-1 (PT: 66-1)
Sergio Garcia: 80-1 (PT: 33-1)
Zach Johnson: 80-1 (PT: 50-1)