Golf

Harman leads by one, record-equalling Thomas hot on his heels

Brian Harman opened up a one-shot lead at the 117th US Open yesterday morning (Singapore time) in a dramatic third round lit up by a record-equalling 63 from Justin Thomas.

Torrential rain that doused the 7,818-yard layout at Erin Hills overnight presented the field with a feast of birdie chances, transforming the leaderboard into a sea of red as dusk fell.

Harman, who had begun the day in a four-way tie for the lead, carded a five-under 67 which included six birdies and one bogey.

The 30-year-old from Georgia had never gone past the second round in a US Open before this year, missing the cut on his two previous visits in 2012 and 2015.

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

"I'm proud of the way I hung in there today. I got off to a pretty good start, which I really haven't done yet, so that was nice.

"Struck it well, hit a bunch of greens, and that's what you've got to do to play well around here."

The world No. 50 headed to the clubhouse on 12 under, one ahead of Thomas, Brooks Koepka and England's Tommy Fleetwood.

The soft and forgiving conditions created opportunity for major movement up the leaderboard for those players willing to take it.

And the prime beneficiary was Thomas, who catapulted up the leaderboard with his record-breaking nine-under 63.

The 24-year-old world No. 13 produced a magnificent eagle three on the 600-yard 18th hole to crown a spellbinding display that was the lowest to par score in US Open history.

The previous lowest score in relation to par was the eight-under 63 shot by Johnny Miller in the final round of the 1973 Open.

"I feel comfortable. Being in contention in a Major is new and I'm excited," said Thomas.

"I hope the moment will come as soon as possible. I know I'm going to be nervous, I just need to harness that as best I can."

Rickie Fowler was two behind Harman on 10 under after a 68 which kept him firmly in contention.

South Korea's Kim Si Woo was one behind Fowler on nine under after also shooting a 68, while three players - Patrick Reed (65), Russell Henley (67) and Charley Hoffman (68) - were on eight under. - AFP

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