Li makes historic cut, Thomas sets US Open mark

2017-06-19 03:16:11 GMT2017-06-19 11:16:11(Beijing Time) Agencies

LI Haotong made a small piece of history by surviving the halfway cut at the US Open, but closed out a frustrating third round with a quadruple-bogey at the par-5 18th on Saturday.

Li found the rough with his tee shot on 18 and hacked it out with an 8-iron, but his ball settled into a deep divot on the fairway, before his third shot bounded through the green into more nasty grass, from where he took six more shots to hole out for a 10-over 82 at Erin Hills.

The final-hole struggle was in marked contrast to his second-round rally, when he became the first player from China to make the cut at a US Open, according to US Golf Association records.

On Friday, Li birdied two of his final three holes to make the cut, even hitting the flagstick with his approach shot at his 17th hole, the par-4 8th.

Li, 21, turned professional at age 16 and won the Volvo China Open last year on the European Tour, securing a 2-year membership and qualifying for the Rio Olympics. He is among the Chinese golfers following in the footsteps of Liang Wenchong, who finished 8th at the 2010 PGA Championship.

Elsewhere, American Justin Thomas capped a record-setting third round with a sensational eagle at the last, moving closer to adding a maiden major title to an already glorious season of golf.

The 24-year-old carved a 3-wood from the fairway to within 8 feet of the cup on the 667-yard finishing par-5 and drained the putt for a 9-under-par 63, the best US Open round ever in relation to par.

His 9-under tour of rain-softened Erin Hills eclipsed the 8-under-par 63 carded by Johnny Miller in winning the 1973 US Open at Oakmont, and matched the all-time low for any major of 63.

“That means I’m a part of history,” Thomas told reporters. “It means I have a lot better chance to win the tournament than I did when the day started.”

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

The thrilling finish vaulted Thomas into the clubhouse lead on 11 under late in the third round but American Ben Harman shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead going into last round.

A three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, Thomas also joined the exclusive “59” club by breaking 60 at the Sony Open, but he may have saved his best for Father’s Day weekend and his quest for his first major crown.

Thomas had 300 yards to the hole for his second shot at the 18th.

“I knew I hit it really well,” he said. “It was downwind to where I knew if I hit it solid, I could definitely get it there.

“All Jimmy (caddie Jimmy Johnson) and I were trying to do is give ourselves a best chance to make a four. Make four, get out of there and post a great number.

“Those things are bonuses, you know? I wouldn’t have been able to do that without that rain last night. So I guess I’m thankful for that.”

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