ERIN, Wis. >> Justin Thomas landed a 3-wood on the 18th green where some players couldn’t land a wedge, leaving him an 8-foot eagle putt that he calmly made for a 9-under 63 that matched one U.S. Open record and broke another.
It also put him squarely in the mix to capture his first major.
On an Erin Hills course that again lacked enough wind to be the stern test the U.S. Open wants, Brian Harman weaved his way through traffic at the top of the leaderboard today for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead over Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood.
Thomas became the fifth player to shoot 63 in the U.S. Open, and the first with a score of 9 under. This is the first time in 25 years that the U.S. Open has played as a par 72.
By the end of the day, that wasn’t even the most shocking number. Harman was at 12-under 204 and still only had a one-shot lead, with Rickie Fowler two shots behind.
“Yeah, 12 under, I’d have about a 10-shot lead in most Opens,” he said.
Just not this one.
There were 18 rounds in the 60s, starting with one for the record book.
If his hot pink pants were not enough, Thomas finished in style. He had 310 yards to the hole when he hit 3-wood that could have led to big trouble if he went too far long or left.
“Oh gosh, Jimmy, be good,” he said to caddie Jimmy Johnson when the ball was in the air, and it was close to perfect. The ball landed on the front of the green just soft enough that it rolled out 8 feet by the hole.
Thomas poured that in to become the 29th player with a 63 in a major championship.
“The finish was awesome. I’d love to have another one of those,” Thomas said.
But not long after he signed for his record score and an 11-under 205, he began to appreciate the significance of a 63 on this day.
“That means I’m a part of history,” he said. “It means I have a lot better chance to win the tournament than I did when the day started. “I felt like I’ve been playing pretty well all week, and didn’t have quite the numbers to show for it. Obviously, today I definitely had something to show for it.”