Tommy Fleetwood fires record-equalling 63 to set tough target at US Open

17 June 2018, 21:27

Tommy Fleetwood produced a sensational final-round charge at Shinnecock Hills as he equalled the lowest round in US Open history.

Fleetwood began the last day six strokes off the lead after he was one of many to struggle in the late-afternoon conditions on Saturday, but he stormed back up the leaderboard with a stunning 63 that set a testing target in the clubhouse at two over par.

The Race to Dubai champion needed something special to trouble the late starters, and he made the ideal start when he followed an opening par by nailing a 55-foot putt for a bonus birdie at the second.

He was on target again from 20 feet at the third, and superb approaches to six and seven set up two further birdies before he came up short with his second to the ninth and was unable to get up and down to save par.

Fleetwood regrouped with two cast-iron pars and he then revived his challenge with a sparkling run of four consecutive birdies from the 12th, holing from 20 feet at 12 and 14 before extending the streak with a 30-footer which hauled him to within one of the lead.

But the 27-year-old missed a great chance to add to his tally when he under-hit his 12-foot birdie putt at the long 16th and, after another solid par at 17, he drilled a precise approach to inside 10 feet at the last and enjoyed a standing ovation from an appreciative crowd on his way to the green.

Faced with a putt for the first 62 in a US Open, and only the second 62 in major history after Branden Grace's record round at The Open last year, Fleetwood was again a little short of pace and his ball veered right of the cup over the last two feet.

Fleetwood tapped in to close on two over just as the last pairings were approaching the turn, and he told Sky Sports: "I honestly never really thought I was out of it. I just needed a good start, as you never know what's going to happen.

"Obviously, we knew they would have made it a bit softer today and, looking at the pins, you knew they were going to be more accessible. I knew I was kind of in it teeing off, but you still have to get off to that good start so four under through seven, it was game on.

"All the way around, I always felt like I could get myself back in it. It's funny, though, when you finish, you always feel like you've kind of missed your shot, but we'll see."

On his missed opportunity for the best round in the tournament's history, he added: "I actually hit the putt I wanted to, but it was so steep, that green, it was a bit slower than what I thought.

"I made great putts coming down that back nine, so it's easy to just look at 16, 18, where I had chances, because that is essentially what it comes down to. But I made so many good putts today. and, to sit here with a chance, I'll take it."