Here is a recap of the third round of the U.S. Open, played at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.:
LEADING: Brian Harman is rolling. A month after getting a seminal second PGA Tour victory at the Wells Fargo Championship – beating out Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm for it – he takes the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open. Harman fires a 5-under 67 to move to 12 under and one ahead of the field. This is the second-lowest 54-hole score in relation to par in U.S. Open history, only behind Rory McIlroy’s 14-under total in 2011. Harman, 30, actually won the 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur. This would be a nice individual USGA title to add onto that. Harman is a great player, but this was out of left field in terms of his major championship history. He’s never had a top 25 in a major, and hadn’t even played in one since the 2015 PGA Championship until this week. Quite a reemergence for Harman.
CHASING: Hmm… was there an interesting story from the chasers? Oh yeah, Justin Thomas closed with an incredible eagle for a 9-under 63 in the third round. That 9-under number set a new record for lowest single-round score in relation to par in U.S. Open history and tied the low round in terms of score (Johnny Miller shot 8-under 63 in the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open). Thomas’ round was also tied for the lowest single-round score in major championship history, as Thomas, 24, makes it 31 63s in major championships. We could expound on this forever: Read more here. Thomas is actually 11 under overall and had a two-shot lead when he reached the clubhouse, but he was passed in the meantime. Tommy Fleetwood looked like he would be ahead of Thomas and maybe in the lead until he made a sloppy bogey at the last. The Englishman is tied for second at 11 under with Thomas and Brooks Koepka (who birdied 18). Rickie Fowler ended the day with 68, just like Fleetwood and Koepka, to post at 10 under. Harman, Koepka, Fleetwood and Paul Casey started the day as 36-hole co-leaders at 7 under.
SHOT OF THE DAY: If you watched the coverage, you know where we’d go with this one. Let’s give it to Thomas’ two closing shots in his record-breaking 63. Honestly, his 3-wood approach from 299 yards is the much better shot, but you have to give huge props to making the ensuing putt with a new record on the line. Enjoy both shots below:
Oh, and how about this amazing Thomas birdie putt at the fifth!?!??!
QUOTABLE: “I just get a little shaky and jittery on putts, and that’s what happened on 15. Then I was so mad at myself for that.” – Justin Thomas on a short missed putt that he got over to make history
SHORT SHOTS: The leaderboard untightened considerably Saturday. There were 12 within two of the lead entering the round, but now there are “just” five. … Casey stumbled to a 75 to drop from the lead to a tie for 17th at 4 under. … Three back at 9 under (solo sixth) is Si Woo Kim, the recent Players Championship winner. … Patrick Reed actually misses a 5-footer for birdie at the 18th for what would have been an 8-under 64 – which would’ve tied the U.S. Open record for single-round score in relation to par before being broken by Thomas about an hour later – but his 65, while wearing his Ryder Cup pants, boosts him to a tie for seventh at 8 under. Russell Henley (67) and Charley Hoffman (68) are also at that number. … Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas lead a quartet in a tie for 10th at 7 under. … Hideki Matsuyama follows up a 65 with a disappointing 71 to drop to a tie for 14th at 6 under. … Amateur Cameron Champ, the Usain Bolt of golf, is 4 over on his round through seven holes but rallies to a 73. Still, he’s now eight back at 4 under. … He’s tied there with Masters champion Sergio Garcia. … Amateur Scottie Scheffler is 2 under and T-30.