Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sports | By Mabel Barber

Wind howling as final round at Erin Hills gets under way


It's the first time the Open has ever been conducted in Wisconsin. There never have been nine straight Opens without a playoff. In this context, there were some remarkable similarities between McIlroy's situation last Thursday evening and that of Jack Nicklaus at the Open Championship of 1981.

Those looking to end their major wait include Rickie Fowler, who is 10 under. Players of his status are expected to make such forthright assessments, even at the risk of becoming one of those packing his bags for home.

Hideki Matsuyama is second at 12 under.

The Masters eschewed an 18-hole standoff not long after, moving to sudden death in 1976. If somebody does it tomorrow to win the U.S. Open by one, that's the specialness of my round.

Matsuyama has two holes left, compared to six for Koepka and seven for Harman.

Asked about the prospects of emulating 2013 champion Justin Rose, the 26-year-old from Southport added: "It will change my life". It's still a U.S. Open.

At Rancho Mirage in early April, Thompson was given the four-shot penalty with six holes to play in the final round.

Koepka is playing with Tommy Fleetwood, one group ahead of Harman and Justin Thomas.

Champ and Scottie Scheffler are tied at 1 under.

Scheffler plays for the University of Texas, and Champ plays for Texas A&M. There were 32 sub-par rounds, a record for U.S. Open third rounds.

Thomas bogeyed three of his first five holes to drop back to 8 under. He then went on to finish tied 23rd behind Bill Rogers.

The former University of Alabama standout, who was on the school's national title team in 2013, would have to shoot another 63 to match Rory McIlory's total score record. Then, at the fifth, his ball sitting in the first cut off a steeply pitched green, he invented a birdie putt that only the most creative of magicians might have imagined. Or that Johnson and McIlory went home Friday after missing the cut? The soft Black Course allowed players to take dead aim, and Barnes opened with rounds of 67 and 65.

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Just about everything already has at Erin Hills.

"It was a good bogey though", joked Fleetwood, who regained his composure to hit a superb pitch from well below the putting surface.

Harman was on top at 12 under coming into the day.

His Bahamas bro, Fowler, playing two hours behind Thomas, said, "I saw J.T. going 5-under, 6, 7, 9, 11".

Brian Harman escapes from the thick rough.

Erin Hills' architects designed the course for the possibility of a back-nine sprint. In the Sony Open, he became the seventh player to shoot a sub-60 round with a 59. She thought for a second and replied, "16 birdies".

Then he had a run of three birdies. Two down, 14 to go. Smiles are rare at a U.S. Open when a player finishes before the leaders tee off. Harman made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole to hold off Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez by a stroke.

So far, Erin Hills has proven quite friendly this week. He takes a wide stance and moves his upper body a lot on his forward swing to accomplish much weight shift.

Not at Erin Hills, which has been left defenseless this week by soft winds and even softer conditions.

"If somebody does it tomorrow [Sunday] to win the U.S. Open by one, that's the specialness of my round". It features a silhouette of Palmer in mid-stride, tossing his visor in the air. At that point, he was leading by seven shots.

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.

The 14th has been the most hard par 5 on the course this week, and has yet to be set up using the back tees at 650 yards. "(There's) no reason to answer that", said Thomas, who is now ranked 13th in the world. I (think) like, let's get to 8, let's get to 9, whatever it is.

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