Tommy Fleetwood will try to block out thoughts of the “life-changing” effect of becoming the second English victor in five years in Sunday’s final round of the US Open. Vijay Singh was the last player to accomplish the feat in 2003 at Olympia Fields.
The US Open tournament organisers have historically prided themselves on trying to make the winning score as close to level par as possible.
But the fireworks came a few hours later when Thomas, 13th in the world rankings, took Erin Hills by a storm of his own going out in 31 and back in 32. Four more birdies followed on the front nine before another bogey on the 10th looked to have put paid to his chances of breaking Miller’s 44-year-old record.
On that occasion Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Hale Irwin and Ray Floyd shared the halfway lead, with Irwin going on to win the “Massacre at Winged Foot” on seven over par.
Casey swung and missed from the tall fescue on No. 3, and then chipped out and it rolled all the way off the green on the other side. A sublime chip to three feet allowed him to escape with a bogey.
“You could keep knocking it back and forth over that green”, said Fleetwood, “staring seven or eight in the face”.
“When you start off like that, you’re whole system gets shaken up”.
“I’ve got plenty of thoughts in my head”.
He said he felt like he was back on the upswing at the Colonial.
Reed explained: “I was really seeing the lines and had the speed“.
Fowler, sharing a house with Thomas this week, was being left behind until he ran off three straight birdies and shot 68.
However, not all Americans fared well.
Koepka also reached the green in two on the 667-yard closing hole for a two-putt birdie and a 68.
“This week I’ve been working with my coach, just sitting there and thinking, all right, let’s go out and try to make a good golf swing and try to make a good putt”. “I’ve been striking the ball well”. I just struggled on the greens. I got off to a pretty good start, which I really haven’t done yet, so that was nice.
“This is bad, but I was thinking, if I make this, I birdie the last three, I shoot 62, all-time major record, and I can get that one down there, so that kind of ruined that”.
And two-time victor Ernie Els, who was two under after round one, dropped five shots in his opening six holes on Saturday. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel, but I’m excited for it”.
His first four holes went this way: double bogey, bogey, bogey, bogey.
“I’m getting to do exactly what I wanted to do since I was 10 years old”.