Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Thomas fires 63, trails Harman by one at US Open

Thomas fires 63, trails Harman by one at US Open

I was just chasing a 63, which seems to be the magic score in the Majors.

As Fleetwood surprisingly wobbled and Thomas took plaudits, Brian Harman proved the merits of the quiet man. It infuriated Harman, and he played the rest of the match in a cold rage, making three straight birdies to win 1 up on the 18th hole. Harman was at 12-under 204 and still only had a one-shot lead, with Rickie Fowler two shots behind.

Barring something, shall we say, unforeseen, the U.S. Open will produce a seventh straight first-time major championship victor. There were 18 rounds in the 60s on Saturday. The putt for eagle was nearly as impressive; the ball went in dead centre to give Thomas the distinction of shooting the lowest-ever round in any of the four majors - relative to par at least. "It's still Saturday - 36 holes is a very long time in a U.S. Open".

It was his worst U.S. Open score since 2013, a few months after he turned pro, when he shot 77-76 and missed the cut.

Thomas fires 63, trails Harman by one at US Open
Thomas fires 63, trails Harman by one at US Open

Thomas was one of those, in a three-way tie for second, along with Brooks Koepka and England's Tommy Fleetwood, just a shot behind Harman. Only one player on Saturday (Patrick Reed, 65) shot lower than 67, and Thomas' 3-3 finish included a birdie at the 509-yard 17th, which has been the toughest hole on the course this week. On the last hole I was miles out on the fourth shot and could've been looking at a seven or an eight but I hit a great chip to get a six.

"It's going to be a really cool day for someone tomorrow", the world number nine said. I then hit a bad wedge shot.

"Every time I've been in majors so far, my first two years, I've put so much emphasis on them and tried so hard at them that I kind of got in my way", Reed said.

"I've got plenty of thoughts in my head".

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Thomas finished in style, and it had nothing to do with his hot pink trousers. He capped his round with a brilliant 3-wood from 310 yards and made an 8-foot eagle putt.

But let's use Reed as an example - with five PGA Tour victories, he's the most accomplished player atop the leaderboard next to Fowler, yet he's never finished in the top 10 in 13 previous starts in major championships.

"The finish was awesome". It's why oddsmakers have made him the 5/1 underdog, despite his one-shot lead.

He might need one at this rate.

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Once again golfers were taking full advantage of a softened Erin Hills layout left defenseless by overnight rain, attacking the pins with gusto. Regardless of the weather, it didn't take long for the 24-year-old Thomas to understand the significance of his record round.

"This is new for me, I can't lie about that", Thomas said after his round. "I don't know what I'm going to feel tonight, if I'm going to sleep well". "I had no idea about the relation to par, so that was definitely a big bonus". He made an eagle on his final hole at the Sony Open in January to shoot 59, and he went on to break the PGA Tour's 72-hole scoring record. Heading into the final 18 holes, there are 16 players within six shots of the lead. He rolled in an 18-footer that went right to left from the edge of the green, grabbing his putter and pointing it out to his left just as the ball dropped into the cup.

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