Thomas sets Open mark with 9-under 63; Harman leads

Tommy Fleetwood, of England, reacts on the 18th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Saturday, June 17, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.

At 516 yards, even golf's biggest hitters are left with long second shots at the monstrous par-four third, which may be why there were only two birdies in third round play. - @RyanLavnerGC spoke to Johnny Miller and relayed his less than gracious reaction to losing his record.

His eagle came on the 667-yard 18th, as Thomas hit a 330-yard drive, then knocked his 3-wood to 8 feet and made the putt.

Paul Casey declared himself satisfied with a "roller-coaster" second round at the U.S. Open, which saw him break par despite dropping five shots in four holes on his first nine. McIlroy was only one shot better. The 29-year-old had not missed the cut at the U.S. Open in six previous appearances, finishing in the top 10 five times during that span.

Thomas' historic round included nine birdies, including three straight to finish the front nine.

And yet, Thomas won't even walk to the first tee box tomorrow with the lead. Exactly half of the 68-man field played it under par as three eagles and 31 birdies produced a scoring average of 3.515.

However, of the leading 18 not one has tasted success in a Major and, in fact, you have to look down to those sharing 19 place before singling out a Major Champion and they are reigning Masters victor Sergio Garcia (71) and double Major winning Martin Kaymer (69) at three under. And it's especially hard to win a first major when you're the rabbit, setting the pace for the opening two days.

After making the turn, Koepka made two mistakes that cost him with bogeys on No. 1 and 6.

Casey was the only leader who went in the morning. You just felt like you were letting everybody down when you're not playing well, but I've gotten better with that.

"I think since my dad dropped me off at football practice and told me to not be disappointed if I didn't get to play at all", Harman said, drawing laughs.

You wouldn't know what to make of it all, if you thought about it too much.

Rickie Fowler, who led the tournament after shooting a 65 in Thursday's opening round, will begin Sunday in fifth place, two shots off the lead.

The last six majors have been won by first-timers, and that cycle has a good chance to continue.

Unusual U.S. Open. Frustrating to many. When I get it going, I don't fear, like I used to.

"Over the years, I've gotten a lot better managing that", Stricker said Friday.

"And out here I'm just thinking a lot about my stroke, stance, stuff you would rather not be thinking about, you'd rather think about line of pace".

  • Julie Sanders