Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Wind howling as final round at Erin Hills gets under way


Florida native Koepka becomes the seventh consecutive first-time major victor, a run started by Jason Day at the 2015 US PGA Championship.

Erin Hills again lacked enough wind to be the stern test the U.S. Open wants, and it showed.

It also put him squarely in the mix to capture his first major.

Of the five other players who shot a 63 in the third round at a major, none went on to win. It's the first time that has happened since 1998-2000.

His reaction was subdued, just like his close friend and last year's U.S. Open champion, Dustin Johnson. Reed, Fowler and Snedeker are among the most prominent contenders, and he is just four strokes behind at eight-under par. He started to find form in a tie for ninth at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March, placed T-11 at the Masters and finished runner-up at the Valero Texas Open.

Harman is playing in just his eighth major, and it's only the third time he has made the cut.

Hideki Matsuyama is second at 12 under.

"I think since my dad dropped me off at football practice and told me to not be disappointed if I didn't get to play at all", Harman said, drawing laughs.

The U.S. Open didn't seem to faze him, and he delivered a variety of big shots that led to his sensational finish. Koepka had a four-shot lead after his birdie at 16 and from there he made short par putt at 17 and tapped in for par at the last.

Johanna Konta marches into last four at Nottingham
Johanna Konta has recorded a straight-sets win over Magdalena Rybarikova to earn a place in the Nottingham Open final. Konta has won three tournaments in the past year and will face Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova in the last four.

STRICKER'S DAY: Home-state favorite Steve Stricker keeps feeling the love from U.S. Open fans.

Thomas, the 24-year-old from Kentucky who is a major away from joining the young elite in golf, only added to a year of low numbers. If Brian Harman can hold onto his one shot lead on Sunday, his personal coffers will swell by $2.2 million.

Fowler, sharing a house with Thomas this week, was being left behind until he ran off three straight birdies and shot 68.

Koepka is playing with Tommy Fleetwood, one group ahead of Harman and Justin Thomas. He had 310 yards to the hole when he hit 3-wood that could have led to big trouble if he went too far long or left.

Scheffler plays for the University of Texas, and Champ plays for Texas A&M. He finished in a tie for second at 4 under after an opening 77.

Two years ago, he carded a 29 on the back nine of the final round at Chambers Bay, equaling the lowest nine-hole score in U.S. Open history. This birdie bomb at No. 8 didn't give Koepka the outright lead for good.

Fleetwood picked up a victory in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour while Rickie Fowler, who will start two behind the pacesetter, is widely regarded as the current best golfer not to have won a major. Harman missed the cut in his previous two U.S. Opens.

But Miller hinted that his round was superior and hit out at the "soft" course set-up in Wisconsin, suggesting it felt more like a regular PGA Tour event than a typical US Open.

After tying for 45th at the Memorial last month, Matsuyama arrived at Erin Hills on a downturn. They each hit their first shot into the rough.

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