But during the fourth round, officials moved the tees 50 yards back and tucked the hole just four paces off the back-right of the green.
KEY STATISTIC: In 116 U.S. Opens to date, only six players had ever reached 10 under or better. "I was just happy that I was the one that was able to take advantage of it today".
Reed sits three shots behind Thomas in the overall standings, posting an excellent round of 65 after a disappointing day on Friday.
It's the most players tied after 36 holes of the USA since 1974 at Winged Foot, only the names from 43 years ago resonate more than today Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer.
The resulting birdie reduced his deficit to playing partner Koepka to four shots, Koepka having followed birdies on the first and second with another from 35 feet on the eighth. He settled on the 3-wood because a mishit would leave him an easier recovery shot. There were 20 bogeys, three doubles and one "other". "It was a good bogey". "Looking forward to the next two days". Not that he will care about that; Thomas has etched his name into golfing folklore, switching the narrative of a hitherto competitive but hardly dramatic US Open in the process. "I don't know what I'm going to feel". At that point, he was leading by seven shots.
Nobody in the top 16 on the leaderboard has won a major.
"Yeah, first cut made, too (at the U.S. Open)", Harman said.
"I thought it was a fantastic round of golf, given what we were dealing with to start the day", the 23-year-old said. He took that 5-wood you made for me in the basement and hit it 250 dead on a line - a frozen rope to 5 feet from the pin on a par 5. It's a reality that at least partially explains that chip.
The putt ran past the hole and settled at the bottom of a collection area 70 feet away.
However, not all Americans fared well.
Paul Casey's triple bogey seven at the 3rd proved a blow from which he could not recover; the Englishman came perilously close to missing his ball in thigh-high greenside rough.
Bizarrely, Spieth's 69 was his best score of the week by two shots. As of 5:20 p.m. Saturday, Thomas held a one-stroke lead over the field at 11-under for the tournament. Most flags were just steps off the green, though a few were in accessible bowls.
"Third round I was just a little frustrated, especially after I started".
The course had been softened by rain earlier in the week, and it finally played the way the USGA wanted in the final round. Every one of the top 13 players on the leader board shot 68 or better yesterday.
And Scotland's Martin Laird is putting together a solid tournament. Only Louis Oosthuizen, Zach Johnson and Sergio García realistically have the prospect of another major win from here, with even that trio's chances highly remote.