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

Tricia Pearson
June 19, 2017

A U.S. Open short on big names - with a leaderboard that at times seemed like a phonebook of random people - found a bright star under a partially cloudy sky at Erin Hills.

A few moment after Leishman's troubles, American Thomas, already riding a brilliant round as he stood on the 18 fairway, hit the shot of the tournament - a 273m three-wood second shot at the par-five that landed on the front of the green, nearly hit the flag and stopped less than 3m behind the cup.

Justin Thomas had yet to realise the significance of his record-breaking U.S. Open round on Saturday as he focused on contending for a first major title.

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.

"I felt like my game has been good enough to compete in the majors this year. I made five birdies today, which that's a lot of birdies around here for me". Rickie Fowler is at 10 under. At that point, he was leading by seven shots.

"Four yards to the right with that tee shot and I'm in the fairway", Oosthuizen said.

The way this third round is going, odds are against him becoming the first player since Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines in 2008 to win a U.S. Open in his home state.

He was at 12 under having hit his second shot on the par-5 18th just 47 yards from the pin.

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QUOTEWORTHY: "That means I'm a part of history".

Low scores were available. That he could begin a Saturday stashed in 24th place alongside eight other golfers and bolt to the fore in his pink trousers on a rain-softened, light-winded course, did not seem all that outlandish. But a trip into the fescue grass after a wayward tee shot cost the Australian a double-bogey and he ended tied-17 at four-under par, probably out of the hunt with a round to play.

"But tomorrow the wind is going to come out of the north, it's going to blow, and the scores could be a good deal higher, if the weather comes to what they're predicting". But, obviously, his 67 with six birdies and one bogey was a pretty good round.

Reed, who beat Rory McIlroy in the first singles contest at Hazeltine previous year and was wearing the pants from his Ryder Cup uniform, said: "You always can take that fire from Ryder Cup and use it in other events". "It was a really good round of golf and I hardly missed a shot". Every time I've been in majors so far I've put so much emphasis on them and tried so hard at them that I kind of got in my way. "Then I was so mad at myself for that", Thomas said of missing a birdie on that hole. For me, I'm going to be super nervous.

Another birdie rolled in on the ninth for Harman to make the turn in 34, and he went on to pick up three more shots at 11, 14 and 15 to find himself one-shot clear heading in to Sunday. All he does is get the ball into the hole in a hurry, which is a pretty good way to win a U.S. Open.

One thing you can count on for certain on Sunday is that the streak of six majors being won by a first-time victor will grow to seven. "I just knew he was going to make it".

I'm looking for Patrick Reed to conjure his Ryder Cup self and post another deep red number. Instead, I suspect it's Tommy Fleetwood who buckles to U.S. Open pressure, and the victor is either Justin Thomas or Brooks Koepka.

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