ERIN, Wis. — Justin Thomas knew his shot was good the second he hit it.
"Oh, gosh, Jimmy, be good," Thomas said to his caddie, Jimmy Johnson.
"Did you hit it good?" asked Johnson.
"Affirmative," replied Thomas.
Thomas' 3-wood from 299 yards banked into the front of the green and trickled purposely towards the pin on the 18th hole at the U.S. Open. The crowd at Erin Hills erupted once again when he dropped the eight-foot eagle putt that remained a few moments later.
With that, Justin Thomas secured his place in golf's history books. He became the 30th player to shoot 63 at a major championship on Saturday, but more importantly, his 9-under round on the par-72 layout was the lowest score in relation to par in U.S. Open history.
He finished the day 11 under for the tournament. Brian Harman would get to 12 under, leaving Thomas tied for second with Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood.
"I'm not sure if it was the pants," Thomas said. "Whatever it was, I'm happy with it."
Thomas is no stranger to low scores.
Late last year, the 24-year-old from Louisville embarked on the best stretch of golf in his young career. He won the CIMB Classic in only his second start of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season. He followed with a victory at the SBS Tournament of Champions in January, then shot 59 en route to another victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii the following week.
"I felt my game was in a good place last season," Thomas said. "My goal heading into this season was to take everything I was already doing, and just to make it all work a little bit better."
He is doing just that.
Thomas came into the U.S. Open as the 13th-ranked player in the world, with seven top-10s and more than $4.8 million in prize money in just 15 starts this season.
His good form is the result of a turnaround in two key areas: His putting, which saw him jump from 131st in the tour's strokes gained statistic last season to 29th in 2017, and his driving, which propelled him from 97th on tour to 39th.
All of which is proving crucial this week.
Thomas' record-breaking 63 lands him in the heat of contention heading into the final round on Sunday. He says he feels comfortable on the course, and now that he spent Saturday booking his place in history, he wants to follow a similar fate on Sunday.
"It means history," Thomas says of his 63, "it also means I have a lot better chance of winning the tournament."
It certainly does.
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