It was only previous year at Oakmont that Andrew Landry, who had to make it through two stages of qualifying to get into his first U.S. Open, shared the 36-hole lead with Dustin Johnson.
The U.S. Open is hailed as the most hard tournament in golf.
The world number two followed his nightmarish 78 of Thursday with a one-under par 71 yesterday, concealing another hit-and-miss day with four birdies in his last six holes to miss the cut comfortably on five-over par.
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World No.9 Rickie Fowler, who held the halfway lead, earned solo fifth with a 68, with Players Championship victor Si Woo Kim a shot back alone in sixth after also carding a 68.
"I've never done this before", Fleetwood said. And if that's not enough of a traffic jam at the top, 18 players are separated by three shots to start the third round.
Thomas finished in style, and it had nothing to do with his hot pink trousers.
From that near meltdown, he hit the next wedge to 3 feet and made the putt to save a 6. "Oh gosh, Jimmy, be good", he said to caddie Jimmy Johnson when the ball was in the air, and it was close to flawless. Sergio Garcia might shoot 63 on Saturday and give himself a chance to win the first two majors of the year, but everyone here at the course will be waiting for a plague of locusts or frogs at that point!
"The finish was awesome".
"I couldn't have shot any higher", Johnson said.
But not long after he signed for his record score and an 11-under 205, he began to appreciate the significance of a 63 on this day.
"When I saw it was about seven feet away I knew maybe we had a chance of history". I felt like I've been playing pretty well all week, and didn't have quite the numbers to show for it. But there's a couple today where I kind of puffed them out there and I'm back there a couple extra clubs.
The 117th U.S. Open started on Thursday.
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Once again golfers were taking full advantage of a softened Erin Hills layout left defenseless by overnight rain, attacking the pins with gusto.
And then, Fowler took a second straight bogey at No. 12 to fall one shot behind Brooks Koepka.
Only eight shots separate the leaders from the players who made the cut on the number.
Day's 79 came despite making birdies on all four par-5s. He was 10 under.
"It's going to be a really cool day for someone tomorrow", Fowler said. "It may be a long shot, but I still feel like I can".
"Just to see their games and how they play, I've grown up watching them".
There were 68 players who made the cut at 145, 1 over par.
Reed was one of the biggest movers, powering up the board with a dazzling seven-under-par 65 that included four birdies on the front nine against one bogey. Regardless of the weather, it didn't take long for the 24-year-old Thomas to understand the significance of his record round. "It's still Saturday - 36 holes is a very long time in a U.S. Open". He sank 11-foot putts for birdies on both 14 and 15 and drained a 26-footer for a birdie on 17. He two-putted for birdie, and he rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th.
On the longest course ever for a major, the cut was the lowest at the U.S. Open since 1990.
But the work is not done.
South Korea's Kim will lead the Asian quest for a major on Sunday after Hideki Matsuyama was unable to build on his second round 65.
Was Thomas' round as exacting as the first 63 shot in a major, Johnny Miller's final-round masterpiece at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont, when he came from six strokes behind to win by two? But he missed his first cut at a major since the 2012 PGA Championship.