US Open 2017: Justin Thomas hits record round of 63 as Brian Harman ends third day with slender lead

Thomas stunned spectators at Erin Hills with spellbinding putts and approach play.Reuters

Justin Thomas made US Open history by posting a record-breaking round of 63 to leave himself on 11-under par going into the final day of competition at Erin Hills.

Thomas, 24, has never won a major but gave himself a great opportunity of breaking his duck in Wisconsin with a masterful display. The world number 13's best moments came on holes five, nine and seventeen, and he finished with an eagle on the last to end the day 11-under par.

Despite his heroics at Erin Hills, Thomas did not actually finish the day on top of the leaderboard. That honour went to Brian Harman, who managed to keep his composure to hit an impressive round of 67 sneak into the lead on 12-under par.

Advertisement

The American is a nose in front of Southport-born Tommy Fleetwood, who survived a few stomach churning moments to finish on 11-under par, Thomas and Brooks Koepka, whose round of 68 kept him in fully in contention heading into the final day.

But there was little doubt that the headlines belonged to Thomas, who was not aware that he was on the cusp of making history. He will now be focusing on trying to control his nerves as he heads into the business end of what has been a remarkable second major of 2017 thus far.

"I had no idea (I was close to a record) in terms of the relation to par," Thomas was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. I wasn't trying to make three (on the par-five 18th). I was trying to get it in the best spot to make four."

"I feel comfortable [going into the final day]. Being in contention in a major is new and I'm excited. I hope the moment will come as soon as possible. I know I'm going to be nervous, i just need to harness that as best i can."

Speaking after a nervy ending to his round which ended with a vital bogey putt, Fleetwood added: "It was uncharted territory for me, leading a major but from the minute I teed off I felt comfortable in my swing. I hit good iron shots early on and good drives so I never really felt it was a struggle and didn't miss many shots.

Fleetwood managed to survive some nervy moments to keep himself in contention for glory.Reuters

"It's hard when you're out there but when I look back, I'll think, 'I played well there. 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.

"Going off there with a six was massive. If I'd dropped more shots it would've left a very sour taste."

Advertisement

Rickie Fowler equalled tournament history by hitting a round of 65, the joint-lowest ever recorded on a US Open Thursday, and the 28-year-old is still very much in the hunt to clinch the first major of his career.

He currently sits just behind Fleetwood and the leading pack on 10-under par, and his performance is made even more impressive when compared to his previous outings at the US Open; he has missed the cut four times in previous years and had a collective score of 27-over par going into this year's competition.

The heroics of Thomas add to what has already been a record-breaking week at Erin Hills. On Friday, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and 2016 champion Dustin Johnson made history by becoming the first top three ranked golfers to miss the cut at any major for the first time in 31 years. But the underwhelming performances from the current superstars of golf have helped pave the way for the stars of tomorrow, with Harman, Fleetwood and Fowler all in with an excellent chance of clinching the first major of their respective careers on Sunday evening.

© Copyright 2017 IBTimes Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.