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Wind howling as final round at Erin Hills gets under way

US Open: Fowler equals record in blistering start

"If somebody shoots nine under tomorrow in the top few (as Thomas did on Saturday) then I'll have to shoot 10, I guess".

"I'm looking forward to my shot at it, I know it's not going to be an easy day, for sure", Fowler said. The tournament received $1 million boosts in 2014 (from $8 million to $9 million) and 2015 ($10 million).

Thomas was tied for 24th at 2 under par, 5 off the pace after the second round.

Every era of the PGA has been defined by a player or two or three that stood above the rest.

The 20-year-old Scheffler birdied No. 18 to finish off a 1-over 73. Champ, a member of Texas A&M's golf team, has been one of the longest hitters at this US Open, and at -4 he has handled himself more than admirably.

Thomas bogeyed three of his first five holes to drop back to 8 under. 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.

Justin Thomas tied the record for the best round at a major by shooting 63.

The lead, however, belonged to Harman, who closed with two birdies and three tough pars.

Thomas has a 59 to his name in 2017 - at January's Sony Open - and two of his four PGA Tour wins have come this year.

"When you look at the USGA championships, by and large just about any way you look at, they're the most important championships not only in the US but in the world", Mike Davis, USGA executive director/CEO, said earlier this year.

Not that those competing at Erin Hills on Sunday need extra incentive to grab the trophy. He still built a six-shot lead through 36 holes, despite hitting his tee shot into the ocean on the 18th hole and salvaging bogey. Now Brooks Koepka, one behind Harman, is providing another example of such a golfer.

This belies a fundamental misunderstanding of what the USGA is doing at Erin Hills, where wide fairways are indeed a bit more forgiving than incredibly penal rough.

However with strong winds ripping across the exposed, tree-less par-72 layout on Sunday, the odds on another low-scoring day lengthened.

The 28-year-world number nine got off to a flying start on Thursday with a seven-under-par 65 but saw his momentum falter on Friday with one-over-par 73. He can't be the youngest US Open victor, but a victory at Erin Hills would make the golf world stand up and take notice. "I've pictured winning the U.S. Open a lot of times before".

Brian Harman is the leader at Erin Hills.

There were early clues that the wind could level the playing field in some of the first groups to tee off on Sunday. Thomas's monster round was capped by that eagle on 18, and featured just two bogies, and he still finished the day a shot off the lead. He putted for birdie to move to 2 under for the day and 2 over for the tournament.

Unusually, the finale will not feature any of the world's top three players. Spieth has said that he feels that he is striking the ball well, but that he is trying to get more consistent on and around the greens.

Whoever emerged victorious would definitely have earned it given the conditions which were reminiscent of the final round of the 1992 US Open at Pebble Beach.

The previous lowest score in relation to par was the eight-under 63 shot by Johnny Miller in the final round of the 1973 Open.

"Even though it will be hard, I don't anticipate this being a bloodletting".

Brian Harman had the lead at 12 under coming into the day. The soft Black Course allowed players to take dead aim, and Barnes opened with rounds of 67 and 65.

The wind is gusting up to 25 miles per hour with the forecast calling for it to go as high as 30 miles per hour in the afternoon when the leaders tee off.