Jason Day said he enjoyed the walk at Erin Hills the last two days. They were three shots clear of anyone else. J.B. Holmes. And Rickie Fowler. With reason: Fowler's mix of fame and formidability stood out on a board lacking star power and major experience.
No player has ever gone lower in a major. By the end of a wild and wide-open Saturday, five players were double digits under par.
The cut was at one-over par after Friday's round, allowing 68 golfers to make it to the weekend.
Joining them with a weekend off - British Open champion Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Adam Scott. His game showed some rust at Erin Hills, especially off the tee on Thursday, when the last time he hit a fairway was on the 10th hole.
Casey swung and missed from the tall fescue on No. 3, and then chipped out and it rolled all the way off the green on the other side. His round would have been better had it not been for two bogeys in his closing holes. "I was just happy that I was the one that was able to take advantage of it today". "So, all in all, not bad".
Casey discovered how little it takes to make a big number in the U.S. Open - and at this U.S. Open, how a recovery is never too far away. He hammered a chip from just short of the par-5 14th that led to another three-putt bogey. No harm, no foul. The final pairing of Harman and Paul Casey hardly got a ball in the air before a new pack of challengers emerged.
Behind the leading quartet, a logjam grouped eight players within two shots of the lead.
A rattled Casey added another bogey at the 15th to extend his miserable run before hitting the turbo-charger and firing off five consecutive birdies.
Casey said he couldn't remember the last time he had five birdies in a row or an eight in a competitive round.
"That means I'm a part of history", he said. "Yeah, it was a bit of a roller coaster".
American Justin Thomas led a charge by early starters up the U.S. Open leaderboard on Saturday, grabbing a share of the third round lead. The 34-year-old out of Oklahoma State has risen all the way to No. 8 in the world ranking, up from 108 just one year ago. "So it's going to be a dog fight, and be a U.S. Open over the weekend". His best finish was a tie for 37th past year at Oakmont. "You could see somebody with an awesome round come from five-plus to win the tournament, if what's projected weather-wise is still there". He missed a six-foot putt on his last hole, which would have given him sole possession of the lead. "Two yards either way, I would have been stuck".
"I'm not sure when it's going to sink in or when I'm going to realize what I did", Thomas said. I drove the ball well, my irons were good. "You're not going to win it today". Four more birdies followed on the front nine before another bogey on the 10th looked to have put paid to his chances of breaking Miller's 44-year-old record.
No break for Steve Stricker after the U.S. Open.
"It's going to be a really cool day for someone tomorrow", Fowler said. "Anything can happen. There are always ups and downs out there". Jordan Spieth, the 2015 champion, started the day level par and was still on that mark after a couple of birdies cancelled out two bogeys in the opening 11 holes.
"I have no expectations", he said.
"I've got a busy summer, so I'm excited to play a lot of golf".
NOTES: Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Chez Reavie each posted a 7-under 65, which represented the day's lowest scores a day after Fowler posted the same score.
But that's not all that makes the possibilities so limitless Saturday.