Martin Kaymer produced a fine 65 to open up a three-shot lead after the first round of the 114th US Open at Pinehurst

Martin Kaymer produced a fine 65 to open up a three-shot lead after the first round of the 114th US Open at Pinehurst.

The German, who started in the afternoon wave, negotiated the front nine in one-under-par 34 before catching fire on the back nine.

The Players Champion birdied the par-5 10th and picked up shots at 14, 16 and 17 – the latter a product of a fine 5-iron approach – before a nine-foot par putt at the 18th saw him home in 65 – the lowest score in a US Open at Pinehurst.

“It was very nice. I didn’t make any mistakes. And finally I could make some putts on 15, 16 and 17,” said Kaymer.

“If you shoot anything under par or level par on that golf course, it’s good.

“I watched some golf this morning and I was very surprised how playable it was because I played yesterday morning in practice and it was very firm. They must have put a lot of water on the greens last night.”

The USGA, however, will ensure the course gets harder as the week progresses, with level par already looking like a great 72-hole score.

In the morning wave, 2010 champion Graeme McDowell eagled the par-5 5th en route to an opening 68, a score matched by Kevin Na, who missed out in a play-off at The Memorial two weeks ago.

Burly Zimbabwean Brendon De Jonge and American qualifier Fran Quinn also sit in a tie for 2nd ahead of a 10-strong group at one-under-par, which includes the likes of Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley.

Ian Poulter and Phil Mickelson are a shot further back on level, with defending champion Justin Rose recovering from a poor front nine to card a two-over-par 74.

It was a poor day for Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, though. The former birdied the last for a 77 while the latter made seven bogeys on his way to a 75.