Harman Leads US Open After Round 3, Thomas Sets Course Record

On an Erin Hills course that again lacked enough wind to be the stern test the U.S. Open wants, Brian Harman weaved his way through traffic at the top of the leaderboard Saturday for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead over Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood. Still, the USGA reacted to Thursday's unusually low scores by placing the pins in more hard locations Friday, seemingly finding the areas where there is a little more break on what are generally flat greens.

Johnson had started his round with a flourish, notching back-to-back birdies to immediately move up the leaderboard.

Casey discovered how little it takes to make a big number in the U.S. Open - and at this U.S. Open, how a recovery is never too far away.

A rattled Casey added another bogey at the 15th to extend his miserable run before hitting back with birdies at 17 and 18.

Of the top 10 players in the world, only Fowler (No. 9) and Sergio Garcia (No. 7), who shot a 70, broke par. Matsuyama, a 25-year-old, four-time PGA Tour victor from Japan, had a putt for birdie on the par-5 18th hole, which would have been only the second 8-under round in U.S. Open history, matching Johnny Miller's 63 at par-71 Oakmont in 1973.

Unlike loveable loser Mickelson when it comes to the America's national championship, Harman is playing in just his third U.S. Open (he missed the cut in the other two) and the first he was exempt into.

But after two wayward rounds and a missed cut, defending champion Johnson was heading home on Friday resigned to watching the climax of the tournament on TV. He was T-5 or better in all four majors in 2014, but he hasn't had a top-10 since.

"It was a lot tougher with tricky pins, so I am pretty happy".

Casey overcame a triple-bogey eight at the par-five 14th, his fifth hole, to lift himself into championship contention.

"If you look at the golf course and even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up flawless for us", Johnson said. I just struggled on the greens.

And, just to make a point for good measure, at the 2015 Barclays, he made a pair of holes-in-one.

"I don't really care. So it's going to be a dog fight, and be a U.S. Open over the weekend".

"It's going to be great", said Fleetwood, a 26-year-old Englishman who won at Abu Dhabi on the European Tour earlier this year. It's there that the mistake was made: Hadwin tried to play too flawless of a third shot up toward the raised putting surface. After all, the U.S. Open has a lengthy history of getting the last laugh and this championship is only at the halfway mark.

The world's fourth-ranked player birdied six of his first eight holes, shooting six-under 30 going out. Obviously, I'm not here on the weekend, so it's unfortunate.

"You can shoot low numbers here", Day said.

Players noticed firmer greens that were allowing putts to race past the hole.

His early exit was particularly perplexing because, Day said, "It's been the best preparation I've had going into a major in my career". The field averaged 299 yards off the tee the first two days.

Fifteen of the 18 holes had been cut within seven yards of the edge of the green and despite the 68-man field being separated by eight shots, only former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen had been able to move into the top 15 after nearly four hours' play.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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