Brian Harman holds third-round lead at U.S. Open, Justin Thomas shoots record-breaking 63
Erin Hills brought new meaning to the term “Moving Day” on Saturday, with 11 players shooting four-under or better. One of those came from the leader, Brian Harman, who posted a five-under 67 to take the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open at 12-under par 204.
Harman, 30, had six birdies and just one bogey, only his second of the week. The five-foot-seven lefty has just two PGA Tour wins, one coming earlier this season at the Wells Fargo Championship. Despite claims by many analysts that Erin Hills would be a bomber's paradise, Harman has tamed the new venue while ranking 120th on the PGA Tour in driving distance. He's played in just two U.S. Opens, missing the cut in both. A victory would make him the first southpaw in the history of the tournament to win.
But the story of the day belonged to Justin Thomas, who carded a nine-under 63, breaking Johnny Miller’s record in relation to par, his eight-under 63 at the 1973 U.S. Open. Thomas, 24, accomplished the feat despite making two bogeys and missing a short eagle putt after hitting perhaps the shot of the tournament. On the short par-4 15th hole, playing just 288 yards, Thomas struck a towering 3-wood and immediately asked ,“be as good as you look.” It was better, rolling back to a few feet from the cup. He would two-putt for birdie, and he wasn’t done producing highlights.
After a long birdie putt on the 17th, Thomas pulled the 3-wood again for his second shot on the 667-yard par-5 18th and put it to eight feet. This time, he rolled in the eagle to complete the record round, which sent him skyrocketing up the leaderboard. He’s at 11-under (205), just one off the lead.
Also at 11-under (205) are Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood, who each shot four-under 68s. Koepka is not only looking for his first major victory, but for his second win on tour, and the first since the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open. For Fleetwood, it's only his eighth appearance in a major championship, second in a U.S. Open. It would be the first PGA Tour victory for the two-time European Tour winner.
Rickie Fowler, who seemed to have lost some momentum on his back nine Friday, came back today with a four-under 68. He’s within striking distance at 10-under 206, two shots off the pace.
At nine-under 207 is reigning Players champion Si Woo Kim after carding a four-under 68.
Four shots back at eight-under 208 is the trio of Patrick Reed, Russell Henley, and Charley Hoffman.