Martin Kaymer made the ideal start to his bid for a second major title at the end of a historic week in the US Open at Pinehurst.
Looking to become the first German player to win the title but the fourth European in the last five years after Ryder Cup team-mates Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, Kaymer took a five-shot lead into the final round.
And although an easier course set-up meant four players had already broken 70 compared to just two all day on Saturday, Kaymer was quickly among the birdies himself.
The tee on the par-four third had been brought forward to tempt players into driving the green and Kaymer did precisely that, two-putting from long range for birdie to move to nine under par.
That increased his lead to six shots over playing partner Rickie Fowler and fellow American Erik Compton, with Sweden's Henrik Stenson having also birdied the third before a bogey on the fourth dropped him back to two under.
Stenson would overtake Adam Scott as world number one by claiming his first major title, as long as Scott finished outside the top four, the Australian just outside the top 10 after covering his first 11 holes in one under.
England's Matt Fitzpatrick had already brought the curtain down on his stellar amateur career in style with a closing 69, the 19-year-old from Sheffield heading straight to Cork to make his professional debut in the Irish Open at Fota Island.
Playing partner Louis Oosthuizen bogeyed the last for a 67 matched by former US Open champion Jim Furyk, while American Daniel Berger went one better with a 66, the 21-year-old covering the back nine in 32 despite a bogey on the 14th to finish seven over par, all the damage done by a third round of 78.
Out on the course, former Masters champion Zach Johnson had recorded the first hole-in-one of the week on the ninth, his tee shot pitching well left of the flag but catching a slope and rolling 20 feet into the hole.
Defending champion Justin Rose had conceded he was playing for second place after starting the day nine shots off the lead, but an eagle from 25 feet on the fifth lifted him to one under par for the tournament.
Fowler's chances suffered a massive blow when he ran up a double bogey on the fourth after thinning his third shot over the green and behind a tree, leaving Compton alone in second place.
Playing in just his second major championship at the age of 34, Compton three-putted the seventh after a birdie on the fifth, but bounced straight back with another birdie from six feet on the eighth.
And with Kaymer missing the green on the seventh to drop his first shot of the day, the lead was down to four shots.