Justin Thomas shoots 63, trails Brian Harman by 1 at US Open

Author

19 June, 2017

England's Tommy Fleetwood has been putting beautifully at the U.S. Open and needs to extend his surprising roll at the championship one more day to change his life forever.

Justin Thomas was on fire in round three, shooting a nine-under 63 with the aid of nine birdies and a remarkable closing eagle set up by a three-wood to eight feet from 299 yards.

Thomas' 9-under round broke Johnny Miller's record for lowest score in relation to par. Felt like I had a good feel for the speed of the greens today, hit a lot of good lag putts.

Oosthuizen ran off four birdies on the front nine and made the turn at 4-under par, leaving him only three shots behind. Rickie Fowler is at 10 under. He won that tournament by seven shots.

"I know one thing, if it happens tomorrow and the result is what I want it to be, then I'll probably have a little different feeling".

"Yeah, first cut made, too (at the U.S. Open)", Harman said.

But the 24-year-old American will start Sunday's final round trailing by a stroke after Harman turned in a rock-solid 5-under 67 to top the leaderboard alone at 12-under 204. Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka appear super-relaxed as they smile their way around the course -and the potentially ruinous meltdown Fleetwood just about fended off on 18 yesterday may stand him in good stead when the pressure rises today.

"I think that can't be underestimated having your friend with you, whether you're in leading the U.S. Open or whatever else", Fleetwood said.

The course had been softened by rain earlier in the week, and it finally played the way the USGA wanted in the final round.

Thirty-two players had sub-par rounds on Saturday, the most ever for the third round. "When you give us soft greens and not much wind, you know there are going to be some good scores".

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Coming off a playoff loss to Ariya Jutanugarn last week in Canada, Thompson had six birdies and a bogey to reach 15-under 196.

Harman was hoping to become the fourth player in succession to convert a 54-hole lead into victory after Henrik Stenson and Jimmy Walker in the last two majors of 2016 and Sergio Garcia in April's Masters.

Alan Shipnuck: Thomas played one of the most electric rounds of golf I've ever seen.

"If somebody shoots nine-under from the top few then I'll have to shoot 10, I guess". For me, I'm going to be super nervous.

"It's going to be weird", Thomas said about the time he has to pass before teeing off on Sunday. "So I didn't put any expectations on myself after seeing how well he was playing".

One man who would appear to have no issue with confidence is Patrick Reed and the boisterous 26-year-old will begin the final round four behind Harman after a wonderful 65 on Saturday.

"When he's gotten out of position, he's done a really good job of getting back in position", Harman's caddie, Scott Tway, said. It looks like he could swing the club with a plate on top of his head that would not fall off. Wish I could have done that. "But I know I'm going to be nervous, but it's a good nervous".

And become the seventh consecutive first-time major victor.

"Fun, I know that", Thomas said, and he said this at a U.S. Open, an event which, he said nearly poetically, "is known for making you kind of hate yourself and hate golf".


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