March 18 2018

Fowler back in the thick of it at US Open

March 18 2018, 05:14 | Sammy Rose

He made the eagle to get his name in the record book Saturday. As Brian Harman began to fade, Koepka poured it on with birdies over the next three holes, lightly pumping his fist after each one. What slowed him on Saturday was a triple bogey on the third hole, but conditions were so tough that Woods shot even-par 71 and still increased his lead to 10 shots.

Englishman Fleetwood looked set to be in the final group until he made a clumsy bogey at 18 on Saturday.

Thomas says "I had no idea in terms of 9 under being the best in the U.S. Open". Thomas' 9-under 63 also broke Johnny Miller's U.S. Open record for low round in relation to par.

The course had been softened by rain earlier in the week, and it finally played the way the USGA wanted in the final round.

Despite winds gusting up to 25mph which forced tournament officials to change the pin position on the par-three 13th, Spieth showed what was still possible with a closing 69.

Fleetwood, from Southport, had been tied for the lead after birdies on the first, eighth, 12th, 14th and 15th, only to bogey the last after following up a poor pitch by putting his birdie attempt off the green.

Rickie Fowler, on the verge of being left behind, rallied with three straight birdies and shot 68.

He overcame a five-over front nine by picking up two shots coming home to salvage a 75 and a respectable 27th place.

"It's going to be a really cool day for someone tomorrow", the world number nine said. "I'm looking forward to my shot at it. But I know I'm going to be nervous, but it's a good nervous". "It was downwind to where I knew if I hit it solid, I could definitely get it there". And if his hot pink trousers were not enough, he did it in style.

In what has become the U.S. Wide Open, Thomas is just one of many players who can wind up leaving Wisconsin with the U.S. Open trophy.

"The finish was awesome".

"I knew I hit it really well, " Thomas said.

He might need one at this rate. And wind - the course's best defense - has not been a factor at Erin Hills all week and may not be again on Sunday.

"If I can make four or five birdies around here, six maybe, that would be a great day", Stricker said. He may not have the length off the tee the younger generation possesses, but that hasn't stopped the 50-year-old from competing on even terms with the long hitters, many of whom are half his age.

Thomas revealed he had failed to pack a snack in his bag and that his groaning stomach had been affecting his concentration for the holes leading up to his eagle putt.

Li found the rough with his tee shot on 18 and hacked it out with an eight-iron, but his ball settled into a deep divot on the fairway, before his third shot bounded through the green into more nasty grass, from where he took six more shots to hole out for a 10-over 82 at Erin Hills. He failed to get up-and-down from behind the 17th green, and then he three-putted from 40 feet on the final hole to finish at 8-under 272. He two-putted for birdie, and he rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th.

"I feel comfortable. Being in contention in a major is new and I'm excited", said Thomas. Hopefully I do. I'll take it one step at a time.

But the work is not done. A lot of them had to come from far back going into the weekend, and it was hard to put together two good rounds. Thirty-two golfers shot under-par on Saturday, presenting a Round 4 where none of the top-16 golfers have won a major championship.

Harman, who won his second PGA Tour title this year in the Wells Fargo Championship, said sleeping on the lead will be no problem.

Two rounds down and two to go at the US Open at Erin Hills and we are still no closer to discovering the identity of the 2017 US Open champion. If somebody does it tomorrow to win the U.S. Open by one, that's the specialness of my round.

"We're breaking down all kinds of barriers", he said.

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