Still, he called it the hardest tournament of the year with good reason.
Scheffler is three shots back of the lead on a jam-packed leaderboard. Tied with Thomas at 11 under are Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood. Of that group, only Fowler at 6-under and Matsuyama at 5-under were in the top 10. "At least I know it's in there". Then I was so mad at myself for that. This week I've been working with my coach, just sitting there and thinking: 'All right, let's go out and try to make a good golf swing and try to make a good putt.
Li found the rough with his tee shot on 18 and hacked it out with an eight-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.
"All Jimmy (caddie Jimmy Johnson) and I were trying to do is give ourselves a best chance to make a four. And I can still beat my best finish at the US Open", said Leishman, referring to his 18th placing at Oakmont previous year. And I feel like once the can gets open, I'll start pouring them in. "And it came out nicely".
Koepka, Harman and Fleetwood all shot matching two-under 70s to join Casey at seven under.
"I fought well on the back nine", Lowry said.
"I'm excited about the future".
Regardless of the weather, it didn't take long for the 24-year-old Thomas to understand the significance of his record round.
He started off with a booming drive, but the real mastery came with his second shot. He got down in three from there.
Then he had a run of three birdies. He is listed at 5-foot-7, 150 pounds. And on No. 9, he made a 21-foot putt.
The par-4 15th was set up as a drivable hole - downwind and only 288 yards. He missed almost two months at the start of the year when he was diagnosed with a slight rib fracture, and then the latest break after The Players Championship.
Thomas' main claim to fame before this was the fact that he is Jordan Spieth's best pal, although he has managed four PGA Tour victories, including this year's Sony Open. He won that tournament by seven shots. It was the lowest third-round score in Open history.
"We're in a good spot", Fowler said. "I'll just play my game, go out there tomorrow and see how it goes". "But, obviously, I enjoyed going low".
Thomas set the U.S. Open scoring record despite registering a pair of bogeys, offsetting them with nine birdies and his closing eagle.
"Bad shots make bogeys and 18 was a good example".
Thomas shook off some nerves as he waited for the putt.
"I've been striking the ball well".
Conditions for the final day in Wisconsin are expected to be more blustery, but Fleetwood added: "I'll be happy if it blows, I don't mind either way". This is from my memory but I assure you pretty close. With not a single major champion inside the top 16 through three laps, the biggest question going into Sunday Funday is how far back is too far back? We all know that.
He said he felt like he was back on the upswing at the Colonial. "And I'm kind of going out there and just doing it, and letting it go".
"Rory thrives on his confidence being up and he gets that from competitive play and performances in competitive situations". But he's playing in just his eighth major championship and his first since 2015.
Thomas carded a sensational, nine-under 63 at Erin Hills on Saturday to move firmly into contention at the year's second major. "I'm looking forward to my shot at it".
The Florida native has more good finishes in the majors than any of the other four. I wish he was calling it just to hear what he would have said.
An Associated Press report is included.