ERIN, Wis. (AP) - Brooks Koepka had a birdie putt on every hole and made three of them to build a one-shot lead after nine holes Sunday in the U.S. Open.
D-Day hour is fast approaching for England's Tommy Fleetwood.
Thomas bogeyed three of the first five holes and tied for ninth at 8 under, eight shots out of the lead. Perhaps his only moment of doubt came on the short 13th.
Brooks Koepka does things his way, very much his own man.
Koepka bludgeons a 3-wood 379 yards down the final fairway.
Thomas, decked out in fluorescent pink pants, produced a no less electric performance signing for nineunder 63 to equal the lowest numerical score in a major and the best ever in the 117 year-history of the US Open in relation to par. "He played great early on".
"From the minute I teed off I felt comfortable in my swing, and the further I got into the round the better I felt". I love you more than anything. I guess I was just a little off around the greens and I need some work there.
For most of the way, Harman was Koepka's chief protagonist. He is also unusual - at least for an American - in that at least part of his development as a player can be credited to the European Tour. The opinionated NBC golf analyst damned JT's otherworldly accomplishment with faint praise when he told GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner that 63 was "a heck of a score" - wait for it - "even if it was the Milwaukee Open". PHOTO: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.
The 27-year-old struggled to believe his triumph, saying: "What I've done this week is awesome". Success was not long in arriving.
Going overseas made Koepka a major champion. One year later, however, he really took charge of Europe's second circuit.
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His time in Europe was short-lived though. The past seven majors, dating back to Jason Day's victory at the 2015 PGA Championship, have been won by first-timers. Surprisingly, that was his only victory until this, his breakthrough at major championship level. He made bogey on the second hole, then another on the fourth and one more on the fifth. "To try to go out there and try to get in a top 5 or trying to get up near the lead is not what I play for, but, unfortunately, that's really all I was dealt, so it's what I had to try to do". And the wind picking up played right into my hands.
He hit a good putt on No. 2 that got caught the left edge of the cup and spun out, and settled for bogey.
"I have a lot of hard times in a major". Harman ended up closing with a bogey. PHOTO: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. That was a big plus for me.
"I played with him at the Memorial two weeks ago".
"I learned a lot this week". "I've always looked to that as kind of a steppingstone".
It was an accomplishment that wasn't lost on golf's newest major champion, even if his father and other family members weren't in attendance at Erin Hills on Sunday and missed one of Koepka's appearances at a major for the first time.
Hideki Matsuyama came to grips with this ferocious battle immediately, embarking on a stirring chase. He posted the low round of the day.
"I think I'll be more comfortable playing in the big events, and help me play better the next time", he said.
"As long as I can get in them, I'll play them, " he said.
Matsuyama meanwhile, produced an inspired round to raise hopes of a grandstand finish after he had begun the day six off the pace. I wish him well and congratulate him.