Martin Kaymer was set to face Pinehurst at its toughest as he looked to protect a record-equalling lead in the third round of the 114th US Open on Saturday.

Successive rounds of 65 meant Kaymer had equalled the lowest halfway total in major championship history (130), as well as eclipsing the US Open record of 131 set by Rory McIlroy at Congressional in 2011.

The 29-year-old's six-shot lead over American Brendon Todd also matched the championship record set by Tiger Woods in 2000 and repeated by McIlroy three years ago, but the chances of a third straight 65 looked to be remote.

No rain had fallen overnight as it did on Thursday to soften the greens and the pin positions tucked close to the edge of almost every green, prompting 2010 winner Graeme McDowell to write on Twitter: "Moving day here at @usopengolf but looking at the pin positions level par makes a move today. #patience #grindmode."

And after almost three hours of play McDowell's words were borne out by the fact that, of the 27 players on the course, only Nicholas Lindheim was under par for his round, the American playing on his own as the odd man out of the 67 to make the cut on four over par.

Lindheim was one under for 15 holes, a stark contrast to the start suffered by England's Matt Fitzpatrick, who was the only amateur to make the cut in his last tournament before turning professional.

The 19-year-old from Sheffield bogeyed the first hole and then ran up double bogeys on the second and third before a brief respite with a birdie on the par-five fifth.

Another dropped shot on the sixth - where the pin was perched precariously over a cavernous bunker - left the US Amateur champion five over par for his round and nine over for the tournament.