PINEHURST, NC -

Defending Players champion Martin Kaymer shot a 5-under 65 to take a commanding three-shot lead after the first round of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst Number 2.

"Someone asked me at the beginning of the week what score I'd take," said Kaymer after his round. "I said 8 over."

The German birdied three of the last five holes on Thursday to break out of a tie with Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na and Brendon de Jonge.

Kaymer set a record for the lowest round at Pinehurst for a U.S. Open. Sweden's Peter Hedblom held the previous mark with a 66 during the second round in 2005.

If Kaymer can hold on for the win, he would become the first golfer to win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year. Only seven players have won both tournaments over the course of their careers including Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Tiger Woods.