Sorry Johnny Miller, it’s over for you.
You’re done Johnny, done in by the kid in the pink trousers Saturday afternoon at Erin Hills.
Forty-four years later, it’s over.
With one smooth stroke of his putter, Justin Thomas gutted an eight-foot putt for eagle at his 54th-hole and shot nine-under par 63 at the 117th U.S. Open.
That eagle putt was set up by a mammoth 299-yard three-wood second shot from the middle of the 18th fairway. “Oh gosh, be good!” Thomas exclaimed as he watched it sail high and straight.
It was a perfect shot that set the stage.
Thomas had a seat on his golf bag as he watched playing partner Jonathan Randolph stall the proceedings with a series of sloppy shots around the green.
But when it came time for J.T. to step up — he stepped up big.
His putt was slightly downhill, a little left-to-right. It was dead-center cut, never a doubt and when his ball disappeared into the hole, it wiped out Miller’s final round 63 at Oakmont back in 1973 as the Open’s lowest score under par ever. Oakmont played to a par 71 when Miller shot his eight-under round that won him the championship.
Thomas still has work to do, he trails 54-hole leader Brian Harman by a shot. Harman’s 67 got him to 12-under and he’ll play in the final pairing with J.T., who is one of three at 11-under.
But first things first, it was time for Thomas to bask in the glory.
“I got to scoreboard watch a little,” said Thomas’ close pal Rickie Fowler, who was well behind Thomas in the Saturday pairings. “I saw my boy J.T. throw up a low one on us,” Fowler recalled after his third round was done. Fowler shot 68 and is two behind Harman, one back of his buddy.
Thomas didn’t realize he had set a new mark when he holed the eagle putt.
“I was just trying to get to 63. I knew that was the magic number, I didn’t know about the number under par. When I got up there and saw it, we had a close one for three. I couldn’t have hit it better,” he said of his three-wood that flew 290 in the air. “The majors have a different feel, a different roar. It’s cool. I gave myself a better chance to win the tournament,” Thomas pointed out, knowing he started the day two-under par.
“There are so many guys in it,” Thomas said, even before the day’s play was over. “This is new for me, I’ll probably be nervous but excited tomorrow.”
Thomas’ round could have been even better. He had six birdies and a bogey on the front nine, turned in 31 then started his final nine with a bogey on 10.
He fought back with birdies at the 12th and 15th. At 15, he flew his tee shot on the par four and it stopped just six feet for eagle cut he missed and settled for birdie. He added another at 17 then set the stage for his record-setter with two back-to-back three-woods at 18.
Whatever happens on Sunday, he’s the new man in the record books.
Nine-under trumps eight-under.