Thomas makes history in US Open third round

And he'll likely have to do it in a manner that most of the past winners of the big trophy rarely would have considered - by making birdies.

"It looks like a PGA Tour event course setup".

That is not to say there hasn't been excitement or drama.

On Friday, Li birdied two of his final three holes to make the cut with a shot to spare, even hitting the flagstick with his approach shot at his 17th hole, the par-4 eighth.

But Thomas had the round of the day, and one of the best in tournament history. He's the fifth player to shoot 63 in the U.S. Open, and the first with a score of 9 under. Then he added: "You never know how the USGA is going to set it up for tomorrow". I'm sure I won't sleep in; I usually don't.

"Nine [under] is pretty darn good".

It is almost impossible to predict because the competitors and their body of work offer no clear pattern.

Thomas was already on course for a share of the lead as he stepped up to the 18th having carded nine birdies against two bogeys in a spectacular round.

The leaderboard is so packed and the scoring conditions so ripe that Harman, who's making his first major start since missing the cut in all four in 2015, wouldn't be surprised if he's trailing when he steps on the first tee at 3:54 p.m. ET.

Harman, who won the Wells Fargo championship last month, continued in his rich vein of form on Saturday, sinking six birdies. Only four left-handers-Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Mike Weir and Bob Charles-have won major championships.

"Plenty of emotions. This is where I've always wanted to be", Harman said. "It's hard to qualify for these things. Obviously, today I definitely had something to show for it".

"But at the same time, it's taken me longer to adjust to professional golf than it did to junior golf and amateur golf".

One of them is likely to prevail, and might do so in dramatic fashion. But it will be a pleasure to go out on a Sunday trying to win a major. Not only that, he gave Erin Hills a piece of his mind, basically stating that the course is a reason why Thomas' score wasn't as significant.

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

Only McIlroy and Tiger Woods had previously finished double digits under par in the game's toughest test, while no runner-up had ever managed such a total.

Tommy Fleetwood, who played alongside Koepka and closed with a 72 to finish fourth, played the Challenge Tour a year before Koepka arrived. That may be why Miller didn't seem all that pleased about it, pointing out why his 1973 score was still better. That back nine really suits my eye. "And I'll win if I stay patient and just keep doing what I'm doing". The venues typically produce a level of grumbling that has not been heard this week.

It was only fitting that Koepka left Erin Hills with yet another record matched or broken.

He became the seventh straight first-time victor of a major championship, and it was the first time since 1998-2000 that Americans won their national championship three straight years.

But the bottom line is there will still be enormous pressure on Sunday. A week later, at the Memorial, Spieth shot a 66 in the first round before fizzling and tying for 13th.

"When you look at the USGA championships, by and large just about any way you look at, they're the most important championships not only in the USA but in the world", Mike Davis, USGA executive director/CEO, said earlier this year. This promises to be different, a shootout perhaps, but no less stressful.

"I'm probably going to be six behind teeing off tomorrow, six or maybe even more", Oosthuizen said.

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