Thomas has record nine-under, Harman grabs US Open lead

However, the man who had previously held the record for the lowest score to par in a U.S. Open, 1973 champion Johnny Miller, was not exactly effusive in his praise of Thomas.

Thomas, decked out in shocking fluorescent pink trousers, produced a no less electric performance signing for nine-under 63 to equal the lowest numerical score in a major and the best ever in the 117-year history of the U.S. Open in relation to par.

However, Thomas bettered those performances with a remarkable 63 that saw him become the first player to complete a U.S. Open round in nine under par. Erin Hills' 60-yard fairways, and receptive and perfectly smooth putting surfaces, along with nearly no wind, made the first-time U.S. Open track very conducive to scoring.

By the end of the day, that wasn't even the most shocking number. Brian Harman, whose 5-under 67 propelled him to a 12-under 204 total. However, two shots stood above the rest.

There were 18 rounds in the 60s, starting with one for the record book.

With so many golfing stalwarts banished, Thomas stepped into the breach with a game as flashy as the pink trousers he wore.

Thomas' 3-wood from 299 yards banked into the front of the green and trickled purposely towards the pin on the 18th hole at the U.S. Open.

"Oh gosh, Jimmy, be good", he said to caddie Jimmy Johnson when the ball was in the air, and it was close to ideal. He chose another 3-wood, which he blistered with a high cut, the ball landing on the green before stopping eight feet past the flag.

Where does Justin Thomas' 63 rank among the now 31 such rounds shot in major championships?

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We knew how hard the guys had prepared. "We've got to play to our strengths, and our strength certainly is with the ball". Some teams might not have the best starts, and they come back amazingly, which Pakistan have done.

"The finish was awesome".

"I'm not sure when it's going to sink in or when I'm going to realize what I did", Thomas said.

But not long after he signed for his record score and an 11-under 205, he began to appreciate the significance of a 63 on this day. "I don't think I could play any different or score any better than I have done", said Fleetwood, who won his second European Tour title earlier this season at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. "But I'm just excited to give myself a great chance to win this golf tournament".

"I felt like I've been playing pretty well all week, and didn't have quite the numbers to show for it". "I had no idea about the relation to par, so that was definitely a big bonus".

And he still has a long way to go.

In the previous 116 U.S. Opens, only six players had ever reached 10-under par or lower, never in the same tournament. By the end of a wild and wide-open Saturday, five players were double digits under par.

Fleetwood, who shot 68, overtook Thomas for the lead with a birdie at 15 and missed an opportunity to get to 13 under when his birdie putt on the par-3 16th hole rolled over the left lip of the cup. Fleetwood was poised to take the lead until his pitch to the 18th wasn't strong enough and his next shot went beyond the flag and down the slope some 70 feet away.

England's Eddie Pepperell, 26, had five birdies and two bogeys in his three-under-par 69 to get to four under and remain in with a chance.

Fowler and Thomas are staying in a house together this week, so they will have plenty to talk about Saturday night as the two young Americans try to burst out of the pack.

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