Fleetwood again cards 63 in U.S. Open final round

Fleetwood again cards 63 in U.S. Open final round

LOS ANGELES — Tommy Fleetwood shot 63 in the final round of the U.S. Open for the second time in five years.

Fleetwood missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Sunday that would have given him a 62 and a share of this tournament’s new single-round record. Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele both shot 62 on Thursday at Los Angeles Country Club.

Still, the 32-year-old English golfer is part of an exclusive group. He became the fourth player with multiple rounds of 63 in major championships, joining Greg Norman (1986 U.S. Open and 1996 Masters), Vijay Singh (1993 PGA Championship and 2003 U.S. Open) and Brooks Koepka, who did it in both the 2018 and 2019 PGA Championships.

Fleetwood surged up the leaderboard with his sizzling final round, finishing at 5-under 275 to end the tournament in a three-way tie for fifth with Fowler and Min Woo Lee.

“Sunday, you want to get the best out of it that you can, and I just happened to be playing really well and got momentum on my side,” Fleetwood said. “I hit some amazing golf shots.”

He had a remarkably similar Sunday in the final round in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills, where he became the sixth player in U.S. Open history to shoot 63, matching the tournament record at the time.

Fleetwood missed an 8-foot putt on the final hole at Shinnecock that would have resulted in the first 62 in U.S. Open history and ultimately a two-hole playoff with winner Koepka.

“I just need to be higher up the leaderboard coming into Sunday and then have another day like today,” Fleetwood said. “It’s a nice little piece of history, of course it is. And you can be disappointed with what I didn’t get out of today, but I think having something like that and shooting multiple 63s in a major … where you can put it in the memory bank and know that you can get rounds going and your game can stand up on a major golf course and shoot low scores is really nice to have.”

Fleetwood began the final round in Los Angeles 12 shots back at 2 over, and he teed off nearly four hours before co-leaders Fowler and Wyndham Clark. In pleasant conditions under a heavy marine layer, Fleetwood barely missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the first hole but then made an early birdie and eagled the par-4 sixth by putting his 286-yard tee shot within 6 feet.

Fleetwood made three birdies in four holes around the turn before making an eagle on the par-5 14th, hitting his second shot 276 yards onto the green and holing a 20-foot putt. He slowed down only when he bogeyed the par-4 16th, sending his tee shot into a fairway bunker and leaving a 24-foot par putt 2 inches short.

His 210-yard approach shot on 18 was superb, but his birdie putt rolled past the hole on the right.

Fleetwood said he “never really felt in contention” Sunday in Los Angeles.

“I think that was one of the differences between today and Shinnecock, really,” he added. “Shinnecock, as soon as I got midway through the back nine, I was in with a chance. So I had a longer period where I was trying to win a major, whereas today it was just about shoot the best score you can, and I was enjoying it and trusting my game.”

In other ways, Fleetwood’s round echoed his effort in 2018. Playing on generous Shinnecock greens that had been watered overnight after they were too dry on Saturday, Fleetwood made a 56-foot putt on the second hole and ultimately posted a round so impressive that he finished just 1 stroke behind Koepka after beginning the day 6 shots off the lead.

Nobody else in the LACC field tore up the North course as impressively as Fleetwood on Sunday, although Austin Eckroat shot 65.

Fleetwood has never won on the PGA Tour, but he has posted top-five finishes in three of the four majors, including a distant second place behind Shane Lowry at the 2019 British Open.

Fleetwood’s 63 at LACC was too late to win — that distinction belonged to Clark — but it made him a big chunk of change: $738,934. The finish also will help Fleetwood move up in the European Ryder Cup standings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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