Justin Thomas shoots 63, trails Brian Harman by 1 at US Open

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Louis Oosthuizen was five under for his round and the tournament through 13 holes, while Charley Hoffman birdied the first two to sit one off the lead at six under. Twenty-four hours later, 125 miles up the road at the golf course his firm constructed, it sounded like the CEO of Lincoln-based Landscapes Unlimited was in a much better place.

I mean, at least on the USPGA Tour, the entire season is choc-a-bloc with venues that are set up to encourage scoring and birdies-great for players and spectators alike.

"That was the best shot I hit all day". The failure of Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and others to survive for the weekend means the prospect of a first-time major victor here is strong.

Brian Harman leads the U.S. Open by one shot after 54 holes at 12 under with a plethora of players lurking behind him ready for a Sunday charge.

Only eight shots separate the leaders from the players who made the cut on the number.

Rickie Fowler is fifth at 10-under, followed by South Korea's Si Woo Kim at 9-under. I'd love to have another one of those.

"You always can take that fire from Ryder Cup and use it in other events", Reed said.

Paul Casey is looking to recover from another triple bogey.

Brooks Koepka made three birdies over his last seven holes for a 68 and joined Thomas 1 shot out of the lead.

Germany's Martin Kaymer, victor in 2014, took 41 shots to complete the front nine and although he picked up two birdies on the back nine, his three-over 75 saw him drop back to level par. I had no idea that nine-under was the best ever in an Open, so that was pretty cool once I saw my card.

But while Casey was relieved after his gutsy fightback, it was back at the drawing board for McIlroy and Day after their disappointing exits.

The 34-year-old finished second in both the US Open and Open Championship in 2015, with his remarkable performance at Chambers Bay leaving him as the holder of two tournament records.

"I told (caddie) Jimmy (Johnson) walking up there once I found out we had a putt, I said 'Let's try to become a part of history here.' He said, 'Yeah, let's do it, '" a delighted Thomas said afterwards. By the end of a wild and wide-open Saturday, five players were double digits under par.

Despite a flurry of late birdies it was not enough to turnaround an erratic round littered with errors and missed opportunities. For all the predictions and odds on players who're expected to do well at brutal long courses, things haven't progressed according to script at the 2017 US Open.

"I'm optimistic with where my game is", he said.

QUOTABLE: "I just get a little shaky and jittery on putts, and that's what happened on 15". It's just a matter of getting competitive rounds under my belt.