Thursday, 23 November, 2017

US Open filled with limitless possibilities, few stars

Noah Ferguson | 18 June, 2017, 10:40

Scheffler is three shots back of the lead on a jam-packed leaderboard.

American favourite Johnson crashed out after he could only card a one-over-par 73, which left him four over for the tournament at the sprawling Erin Hills course in rural Wisconsin. He did it himself.

Justin Thomas made history on Saturday when he shot a 63, shattering a record that stood for 44 years. It's a long haul. To dent the field full of red numbers, it had to be.

Erin Hills again lacked enough wind to be the stern test the U.S. Open wants, and it showed. That's for the Quad Cities Open.

There were 18 rounds in the 60s, starting with one for the record book. On eight he put his 154-yard approach shot to about two feet and made the putt.

But Thomas was more focused on the 63 than the par record for the Open.

Big-names to collapse on day three were former US Open winners Jordan Spieth and Martin Kaymer.

"The course wasn't created to be soft, and if it was going to be soft, it should have been 26-or-27-yard-wide fairways. Usually the roars are for pars and stuff like that".

"I felt this is a golf course sets up really well for me, especially if I'm driving it like I did today", Johnson said.

The U.S. Open didn't seem to faze him, and he delivered a variety of big shots that led to his sensational finish.

"When I saw it was about seven feet away I knew maybe we had a chance of history".

He said: "I didn't know about the below-par record, but that is just a fantastic bonus".

If his hot pink trousers were not enough, Thomas finished in style.

Conditions for the final day in Wisconsin are expected to be more blustery, but Fleetwood added: "I'll be happy if it blows, I don't mind either way". He just missed an eagle at the par-5 seventh after a long putt rolled just wide of the cup.

"The give-a-(bleep) factor was pretty low at that point, which made it a lot easier", he cracked. I've been putting it pretty good. "That was definitely a bonus".

Thomas opened with two straight birdies before one of the great putts of his life at the par-4 5th hole.

Fowler pitched the ball to about 18 feet, then missed the next putt on his way to a bogey.

Incredibly, Thomas' round contained two bogeys.

"It was an awesome day", Thomas said. I'm confident I'm prepared for whatever happens, good or bad.

The trick now is for Thomas to remember for all the hosannas over his 63, it didn't win him anything.

McIlroy meanwhile - who earlier in the week had advised players unable to hit the fairways to "pack their bags" - was left at five over par after a second-round 71.

"It's going to be weird", Thomas said about the time he has to pass before teeing off on Sunday.

"I'm going to enjoy my time tonight with my little girl and my wife". I'm sure I won't sleep in. That's why I play, to get myself in this position. "I was excited to shoot 63".

It appears that Erin Hills, a first-time venue, has a lower threshold than the normal Open course. There is also an element of social standing involved with several of the old-money clubs up East trading the U.S. Open among themselves on a regular basis.

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