US Open Golf 2017: Brian Harman Leads After Justin Thomas' Record Round

Justin Thomas made history Saturday at the 2017 U.S. Open in Erin, Wisconsin, shooting a nine-under par 63, but he still finds himself in a three-way tie for second place and one shot behind leader Brian Harman at 12 under par.

Per the PGA Tour, Thomas' nine-under par set a new U.S. Open record for a low score relative to par. The previous record was held by Johnny Miller at eight under par in 1973.

When the third round began, Thomas was barely a thought at Erin Hills. The 24-year-old was in 24th place with a respectable score of two-under par. He is now squarely in the mix to win the year's second major with one more round to play.

Here's the leaderboard:

To make history, Thomas had nine birdies, two bogeys and ended his day with an eagle on the 18th hole to take sole possession of the lead.

Other PGA Tour stars were giving Thomas applause on social media:

There was no shortage of highlights for Thomas, but this birdie on No. 5 seemed like an indication that things were going his way:

This is uncharted territory for Thomas heading into the final round. He has won four PGA Tour events—most recently at the Sony Open in January—but has yet take a major. His previous best finish in a major was tied for 18th at the 2015 PGA Championship.

Thomas' score overshadowed everything else, including Patrick Reed nearly matching his low score. The 26-year-old Texan could have tied Miller's record-low score of eight-under par for a round with a birdie on No. 18.

Instead, Reed settled for par on the final hole and a 65 for the round. He's four shots off the lead and moved up 26 spots on the leaderboard.

Reed had two stretches in which he birdied three straight holes, with the first of those runs coming from Nos. 6 through 8 and ended with a terrific chip shot that hit the bottom of the cup:

CBS' Kyle Porter pinpointed one thing in Reed's wardrobe that may have helped him climb back into contention:

Tommy Fleetwood and Harman started the day as part of a four-way tie for the lead. Harman maintained his position thanks to a five-under par 67, the second time he's hit that mark in three rounds.

Harman has been all over the place this year, especially in the weeks leading up to the U.S. Open. Since winning the Wells Fargo Championship six weeks ago, he's missed one cut, had one top-10 finish and ended The Players Championship in 53rd.

Fleetwood has been terrific at minimizing mistakes and taking advantage of his opportunities. He's hit three bogeys through 54 holes and has gotten some help through sheer luck along the way.

There was trouble on the 18th for Fleetwood when he hit his putt from just off the green too hard. It flew past the hole and went down a small hill on the opposite side of the green. He took a bogey that dropped him one shot off the lead but left him in a good position heading into the final round.

Whatever Fleetwood has been doing over the last 72 hours, it's working better than anyone could have expected in just his second appearance at the U.S. Open.

Brooks Koepka was part of the quartet that started Saturday tied for the lead. He's still in contention at 11 under par, alongside Fleetwood and Thomas.

Just outside the top four, Rickie Fowler is two shots off the lead as he continues to chase his first major title. The 2014 U.S. Open runner-up closed strong with three consecutive birdies from Nos. 14 through 16.

Despite the course's massive 7,741-yard length, players have figured out how to put up low numbers throughout the tournament.

With a crowded field still fighting for the top spot, the U.S. Open's conclusion Sunday figures to be one for the ages. Harman has been the quiet, steady presence. Thomas' 63 comes after players such as Reed, Fowler, Chez Reavie and Hideki Matsuyama fired a 65 in various rounds.

As the pressure mounts, there are 18 holes left to determine the 117th U.S. Open winner.


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