117th US Open, Erin Hills
The top 5 after 36 holes is almost unchanged after the 3rd round. Almost, because young Justin Thomas is now second along with Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood at – 11, one stroke behind Brian Harman, the new leader. Rickie Fowler is just one back, and Paul Casey’s 75 takes him off the picture. 12 players are grouped within 5 strokes from Harman. The 4th round is to be terrific.
With Justin Thomas:
You fired a 9-under 63 to record the lowest score in the 117-year championship history at the U.S. Open. Can you talk a little bit about your round?
It was obviously an awesome day. It was one of those. My game has felt pretty good all week. It just was trying to take advantage of the opportunities I had and when it was a tougher hole or tougher pin, just come take my medicine or make a par. The front nine, to end with those three birdies just kind of turned an average or a decent nine into a great nine to where I could kind of get some momentum going into the back and try to post a great number out there. Obviously, the finish was awesome. I’d love to have another one of those.
You’ve never won on the U.S. mainland proper, as it were. How special would it be to do it this time around?
It would be special because it’s a U.S. Open, not because it’s on the mainland. I mean, that’s something that’s kind of funny to me. People will say that, and I just say having four PGA TOUR wins at 23, when I had them, was pretty great. I don’t know. There’s not really much I can say. Usually people that are saying that are just kind of looking for something to talk about. But I feel confident at some point I’ll get one on the mainland.
Tomorrow’s going to be fun. I’m excited. I don’t really know what to say, I guess, sort of thing. It’s great to be in the position that I am versus before I had that good finish. Any more under par you can get is obviously better. I’m just excited for tomorrow.
Walking back from 18 to scoring, what was your initial reaction to shooting 63?
Walking from the green or from the scoring? I was excited to take the lead. I was excited to shoot 63. I had no idea that 9-under was the best ever in an Open, so that was pretty cool once I saw my card. The guys at the scoring table told me that, so I was pretty pumped about that. I don’t know. Obviously, it hasn’t set in what happened today. I was in a great zone out there. I was hitting it well, I was putting it well, I had some great up-and-downs. So it just kind of everything has been flowing. So I’m sure once I sit down and relax tonight it will maybe set in a little bit more.