Cinderella is alive and well after 54-holes at the 117th U.S. Open.
Cinderella is at the top of America’s oldest major after 54 birdie-filled holes at Erin Hills Golf Club.
Cinderella’s name is Brian Harman.
He’s all of 5-foot-8, perhaps 145 pounds with a sleeve of golf balls in each pocket. But he’s the leader of this pack of hopefuls, most all at or near the top after three rounds have never won a major, Harman included.
This is only Harman’s third U.S. Open. He missed the cut in the other two but has a handle on things going into Sunday’s pressure-packed final round.
Harman fashioned a skillful 67 at got him to the top at 12-under par. He will go out Sunday and try to become the first left-hander to win the Open. Sorry Phil Mickelson.
“I got it by working hard,” Harman said of his one-shot lead. “Staying in the moment and not getting ahead of myself. I hit it far enough, not as far as some of these guys. I just play my game and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”
Harman got the lead by hitting fairways and greens for the most part and not making mistakes. His only bogey came early in the day at the third hole but he out-steadied the rest all afternoon.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood had a great chance to share the lead with Harman. He was just short of the par five 18th in two but hit back-to-back bad shots and was fortunate to make bogey.
Fleetwood finished with 68 and was in at 11-under par, tied with Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas.
Thomas shot a record-setting 63, nine-under par and erased the 44-year-old record of Johnny Miller, whose 63 at Oakmont in 1973 was eight-under par.
Rickie Fowler will start his final round at 10-under, two off the lead.
“It’s a pretty young leaderboard,” Fowler observed after shooting 68. “It’s a different version of the U.S. Open.
It is different because birdies and low rounds are abundant. Thanks to nearly an inch of rain Friday night, the course was soft and defenseless with no wind to be felt during the entire third round.
There are 42 players under par, a new 54-hole record for the U.S. Open.
There are at least a dozen players who have a shot on Sunday.
Odds are, for the seventh straight major, there will be a first-time major champion.