Justin Thomas trails Harman by 1 after record day at US Open

Paul Casey of England hits from the 15th tee during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday

He went from pouring putts into the center of the cup to burning the edges, and his 39 on the back nine cost him the lead, though not his chances of breaking through for that first major.

There will be some SEC pride on the line on the final day of the 2017 U.S. Open. "U.S. Opens aren't supposed to be played under par!" they'll scream right before telling the neighbor kids to get off their lawns.

Whether this week's display is good for golf is a debate for another day, and probably another golf course, but there is no more room for doubt when it comes to Erin Hills; without an assist from Mother Nature the game's best can make a pitch-and-putt out of even the longest layouts.

The left-hander shot a 67 to reach 12 under and take a one-shot lead over Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood.

"I was glad to hang in there, especially that last group", said Harman, who is playing his first weekend at a U.S. Open in three attempts. His only bogey came at the par-4 third hole.

Thomas finished in style, and it had nothing to do with his hot pink trousers. One example of that was Fowler hitting 3-wood into the green on the 632-yard 18th hole, with a breeze at his back. "I mean, it's literally one shot at a time trying to pick this golf course apart, just like I did Thursday morning out here". It would have been the round of the day had Thomas not shot 63. "I'm just so excited to give myself a great chance to win this golf tournament". "But, obviously, I enjoyed going low".

This won't be a U.S. Open final round where you can focus in on one pairing and expect the victor to be one of those two.

Brian Harman stood on the podium with hands on hips, giving answers in the kind of matter-of-fact voice expected from someone used to the spotlight of a major championship.

On the Par-4 fifth hole, Thomas was just off the green. He got that up-and-down for a bogey and a 68.

Fowler's seven birdies were from no more than 12 feet, including three in a row around the turn. He was 10 under.

"It is always cool to be part of some sort of history in golf", Fowler said. "I'm looking forward to my shot at it, and I know it's going to be - it's not going to be an easy day, for sure".

"I felt the most calm I have in a major in a long time this week", he said.

Not to be overlooked was Si Woo Kim, who captured The Players Championship last month. He shot 73 and missed the cut by three. Regardless of the weather, it didn't take long for the 24-year-old Thomas to understand the significance of his record round. 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. Still, the man from Liverpool was upbeat: "I can't say how much having one of my best mates (caddie, Ian Finnis) on my bag". The ball hit just short of the green and popped forward and rolled 8 feet, 1 inch past the hole.

No one took advantage like Fowler.

But the work is not done. "This was the goal going into the week, to put ourselves in position to be in contention on Sunday, whether that was two back, two up front, or tied for the lead". Fifteen of the top 16 on the leaderboard broke par. "I don't think I could play any different or score any better than I have done", said Fleetwood, who won his second European Tour title earlier this season at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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