Martin Kaymer starts with 65 and shares the lead at LIV Golf in the week before his return to Pinehurst

HUMBLE, Texas – Martin Kaymer played bogey-free on a muggy Texas afternoon, shooting 7-under-par 65 to share the lead with two others Friday in LIV Golf Houston's final event before Kaymer returns to Pinehurst as the No. 2 seed for the U.S. Open.

Adrian Meronk of Poland and Caleb Surratt also finished 65th at the Golf Club of Houston, the former home of the Shell Houston Open on the PGA Tour.

Kaymer won the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, the second of his two majors, by eight strokes on a course where he posted just three under-par scores during the week.

The German only managed one top 20 finish at LIV Golf this year, although he felt his game was starting to improve a month ago.

“Little things… once they come together, rounds like this can happen,” Kaymer said. “I'm glad I played such a good round today. It gives me confidence for tomorrow and Sunday and also for the U.S. Open. Obviously that's a big event on the schedule, especially on this golf course. Hopefully I can continue this trend.”

This is the last year of his ten-year exemption from participating in the US Open.

Kevin Na and Carlos Ortiz each scored 66, while the large group with 67 points included Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed, who lives in the Houston area.

The score was so low that only 10 players were over par, including Anthony Kim and Richard Bland, who had just won the Senior PGA Championship.