Thomas shoots record 63, trails Harman by one at bunched US Open

Doug Mendoza
June 18, 2017

It was, however, enough to get him into the final pairing of a major championship that remains wide open.

Harman, bidding to become the first left-hander to win a US Open, is a victor on the PGA Tour this year and he leads in Wisconsin by a stroke, with world number 13 Thomas, Brooks Koepka and England's Tommy Fleetwood (both 68) sharing second place.

Tommy Fleetwood, of England, reacts on the 18th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Saturday, June 17, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.

That is the lowest score in relation to par in the 122 year history of the US Open, and it allowed Thomas to come hurtling out of the pack to set an imposing 54-hole target as he walked into the clubhouse at 11 under. Harman, who missed the cut in his previous two U.S. Opens, is going for his first major title.

Jordan Spieth's first attempt to get out of the bunker on the 18th hole Saturday ended badly. Without Spieth, McIlroy, Day or Johnson to compete with him at the top of the leaderboard, there will never be a better time than now for Fowler to win his first major.

Thomas, however, is not alone in that pursuit.

At Rancho Mirage in early April, Thompson was given the four-shot penalty with six holes to play in the final round.

Thomas, Fleetwood and Koepka ended the day a solitary shot off the pace, while Rickie Fowler and Kim Si-woo were firmly in contention at 10 and nine under respectively.

A three-time victor on the PGA Tour this season, Thomas also joined the exclusive "59" club by breaking 60 at the Sony Open, but he may have saved his best for Father's Day weekend and his quest for his first major crown. Going into the final round, 42 players were still under par. "It could change in a heartbeat".

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Harman leads through 54 holes at US Open
Fowler, who shared the 36-hole lead at the Masters in April, never came seriously close to bogey because he was never in trouble. Open record at 272. "I have no expectations", he said. "When I get it going, I don't fear it like I used to of stalling".

He'll start Monday just one shot behind unheralded American Brian Harman, whose 67 put him in the lead at 12-under.

He gave back a stroke on No. 4 when his drive went into the right fescue and his second shot was over the green.

"It doesn't matter how long, how whatever the course is", Thomas said about the longest course in major championship history.

"I felt like I've been playing pretty well all week and didn't have quite the numbers to show for it". "But you can't do anything about that stuff. I just get a little shaky and jittery on putts and that's what happened on 15".

"I've made plan and I've stuck to the plan", he said.

Reed was one of the biggest movers, powering up the board with a dazzling seven-under-par 65 that included four birdies on the front nine against one bogey. Thomas, who had two bogeys on Saturday, birdied Nos. But the wind hasn't kicked up over three rounds, and overnight rains have kept things soft, allowing shots to hit the green and hold, the way Thomas' 3-wood did from 310 yards out on the 18th hole.

Tommy Fleetwood called his fifth shot from over the green on the closing par-5 18th "the best shot of the day". He had birdies at 1, 4, 9, 11, 14, and 15.

"It just depends on the weather", Harman said. That was the kind of day it was and the kind of Open it is, as scores are unprecedentedly low and everyone seems fearless. It's out there for sure.

"I've been there a handful of times and had some good finishes but I'm looking forward to getting the job done".

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