Justin Thomas lit up the US Open on Moving Day as he set a new tournament record with a stunning 63 at Erin Hills.
Thomas raced into a two-shot lead with his remarkable, record-breaking effort on the longest course in the event’s history, carding nine birdies and capping a sensational round with an eagle at the final hole.
His round was the lowest in relation to par ever seen in 117 editions of the US Open, surpassing Johnny Miller’s final-round eight-under 63 which swept him to the title at Oakmont in 1973.
Thomas opened with a pair of birdies and hit back from a bogey at the fourth with an unlikely birdie at the next, holing a superb putt through the fringe which turned a full 90 degrees.
The young American, who won back-to-back PGA Tour titles in Hawaii in January and fired a 59 at the Sony Open, then reeled off three consecutive birdies from the sixth before a mistake at the 10th dropped him back to six under.
But he responded with birdies at 12 and 15, and another at the 17th gave him the outright lead before he capped a memorable day in fitting style, hammering an outstanding 300-yard three-wood to eight feet and sending the putt into the middle of the cup for a thrilling three.
Thomas, the world No 13, became the 28th player to fire a 63 in a major championship and the first since Henrik Stenson stormed to victory in The Open at Royal Troon last July.
“That means I’m a part of history, and it means I have a lot better chance to win the tournament than I did when the day started,” he said. “It’s all pretty self-explanatory in terms of what it means.
“I felt like I’ve been playing pretty well all week, and didn’t have quite the numbers to show for it. Obviously, today I definitely had something to show for it.
“The six-iron I hit into three was one of the best shots I’ve hit. That ball is way above my feet, I had 204 in and off the left wind, and I just pured the six-iron right at it. Something about that shot kind of calmed me, and it made me very comfortable for the day.”
And on his sublime three-wood to the 18th green, Thomas added: “I knew I hit it really well. I had 310 yards to the hole, but it was downwind so I knew if I hit it solid, I could definitely get it there. If I hit it off the bottom, it was going to be in those front bunkers, which was fine. That was perfect.
“All we were trying to do was give ourselves a best chance to make a four, get out of there and post a great number, so those things are bonuses. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that without that rain last night, so I guess I’m thankful for that.”