"When you look at the USGA championships, by and large just about any way you look at, they're the most important championships not only in the US but in the world", Mike Davis, USGA executive director/CEO, said earlier this year.
Later today, Brian Harman, who is at 12 under, will take a one-shot lead over Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood into the final round.
This isn't like most Opens.
Not that those competing at Erin Hills on Sunday need extra incentive to grab the trophy. Going into the final round, 42 players were still under par. It led to an eagle to close out his 63.
World number nine Rickie Fowler, runner-up in the US Open in 2014, is two off the lead on 10 under. The course is probably nicer to play without the wind, but if it does blow, then you'll definitely have to play proper golf.
Taking nothing away from 9-under par, 9-under is incredible with U.S. Open pressure. And he wasn't through. He made an eagle on his final hole at the Sony Open in January to shoot 59, and he went on to break the PGA Tour's 72-hole scoring record. Paul Casey went out in the last group and shot a 75.
Four other players are tied for 10th on seven under. The final-round average was 77.2, and 20 players shot in the 80s. "That fifth shot on the 18th was the best shot all day". Tom Kite won his only major. He still built a six-shot lead through 36 holes, despite hitting his tee shot into the ocean on the 18th hole and salvaging bogey.
No one had a chance. He finished at 12-under 272, the first player to complete a U.S. Open double digits under par. He shot 68 and was only three back.
Below Harman on 12 under, three players are exhausted on 11 under - Thomas, Brooks Koepka and England's Tommy Fleetwood.
The course had been softened by rain earlier in the week, and it finally played the way the USGA wanted in the final round. The ball landed on the front of the green just soft enough that it rolled out 8 feet by the hole.
The player hit eight birdies during the third round, but a bogey on No. 5 stunned the start of his day.
"It's going to be a really cool day for someone tomorrow", the world number nine said.
Koepka had a one-stroke lead before he bogeyed No. 10 to drop back to 13 under.
A mere hiccup. On Saturday, he got to 14 under, then on Sunday, he widened the gap versus par to 16 under.
Just because golfers are shooting low scores in the U.S. Open, it doesn't mean Erin Hills isn't a fabulous course. He ends his weekend at Erin Hills at 1 over. The tournament was never really in doubt after that, though the wind arrived and Kaymer couldn't maintain the pace.
Also at 11 under was Tommy Fleetwood, who was poised to take the lead until his pitch came up short, his next shot went 60 feet down a slope on the back of the 18th green and he turned potential birdie into bogey and settled for a 68. He shot 72 in the third round for an 8-under 202.
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