Thomas sets scoring record with 63 at US Open

The left-hander shot a 67 to reach 12 under and take a one-shot lead over Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood. He was 10 under, only two shots behind.

His historic round included nine birdies, including three straight to finish the front nine. His "be as good as you look" in the moment exaltation will be one for the annals of golf history if he wins the tournament. 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. He landed the ball perfectly on the fringe of the green and it rolled just past the hole for a makeable eagle putt. "Obviously, today I definitely had something to show for it".

Thomas, who was tied for the lead at the time at 9-under, chose to go for the green from a little over 300 yards out.

His good form is the result of a turnaround in two key areas: His putting, which saw him jump from 131st in the tour's strokes gained statistic last season to 29th in 2017, and his driving, which propelled him from 97th on tour to 39th.

"But, I had no idea 9-under was the best score ever to par, " Thomas said.

The exclamation point to the round was his eagle 3 on the 18th hole.

"Tomorrow will be a very cool experience", Fleetwood said. "Looking forward to the next two days".

And with no previous major champion within shouting distance of the lead (none within eight shots), Thomas has a golden opportunity to win his first.

"The majors have a different feel and sound to the roars and to hear the crowd go insane when I holed that putt on 18 was really cool", said Thomas, whose back-to-back wins in Hawaii in January included an opening 59 in the Sony Open.

Thomas, the 24-year-old from Kentucky who is a major away from joining the young elite in golf, only added to a year of low numbers. He holds the PGA Tour record for 36-hole, 54-hole, and 72-hole scores after he shot 59 in the opening round at the Sony Open in January. "It's interesting to see where the USGA has gone with the U.S. Open, being a little more friendly than in years past". "It's a tremendous honor to tie him [by shooting 63 in the U.S. Open]".

Around 70 minutes earlier, compatriot Patrick Reed had faced a similar length putt to Thomas on the 18th to shoot eight under but missed his birdie attempt and had to settle for a 65.

On the longest course ever for a major, the cut was the lowest at the U.S. Open since 1990. And I think that's a testament to the set-up of the golf course, that when you set up a golf course in a fair manner and the weather is good, the scores are going to be low.

The soft, forgiving conditions created opportunity for major movement up the leaderboard for those players willing to take it.

Fowler likes his chances of breaking his major duck on Sunday.

  • Zachary Reyes