June 17, 2018 / 8:13 PM / 6 months ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Golf-Fleetwood shoots 63, matches best round in U.S. Open history

(Corrects headline to Fleetwood)

By Andrew Both

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y., June 17 (Reuters) - Englishman Tommy Fleetwood matched the lowest score in U.S. Open history, a seven-under-par 63 in the final round on Sunday that gave him an outside chance of winning the championship.

Playing more than two hours ahead of the overnight leaders, Fleetwood reeled off four consecutive birdies from the 12th hole at Shinnecock Hills.

He had good chances to birdie the final three holes as well, but missed them all, including an eight-footer at the last with history beckoning.

He set himself up for the first 62 in Open history after hoisting a six-iron from nearly 200 yards uphill and into the wind at the par-four 18th, his ball covering the flag the entire way before stopping to give himself an uphill putt.

Fleetwood misread the putt and missed on the low side.

His two-over 282 total left him one stroke behind on-course leaders Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Fleetwood’s 63 was the sixth at a U.S. Open.

With conditions relatively benign after Saturday’s arduous test, it was unlikely Fleetwood’s total would be enough to win, but he certainly was not going to leave the course just in case.

“In preparation for today’s forecasted dry and windy conditions and to maintain a challenging yet fair U.S. Open test, we applied appropriate levels of water to all putting greens last night and this morning for turf health and firmness,” the U.S. Golf Association said in a statement.

“Similar to the preparation we took for round one, green speeds will be, on average, 10-12 inches slower than rounds two and three.

“We also adjusted some hole locations in a manner similar to what we did in round one, reviewing our initial selections and comparing them against our weather forecast and other agronomic data.” (Reporting by Andrew Both Editing by Gene Cherry)

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