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This might have been more than anyone was expecting.

Barring something, shall we say, unforeseen, the U.S. Open will produce a seventh straight first-time major championship victor. Tom Kite won his only major.

Fleetwood is playing in only his second US Open but has looked fearless so far.

Once again golfers were taking full advantage of an Erin Hills layout softened by overnight rain, attacking the pins with gusto and none more than Thomas, who had six birdies on a blistering outward nine.

Dustin Johnson. Rory McIlroy.

Oosthuizen, whose sole major title to date came at St Andrews in 2010, birdied the first, fourth, seventh and eighth to move to four under par, while 2015 victor Spieth had covered his first 11 holes in level par.

Henrik Stenson. Alex Noren.

"It would be great to follow in Justin (Rose)'s footsteps".

ERIN, Wis. - You can seemingly see for miles in all directions across the vast Erin Hills landscape, yet there isn't a major champion in sight. He set the target early under warm sunshine, and even as the wind tapered in the afternoon, no one could catch him.

After making par on his first nine holes, Niebrugge bogeyed Nos. They were joined by Harman and Fleetwood, who each had a 70.

Rickie Fowler was two behind Harman on 10 under after a four-under-par 68 which kept him firmly in contention.

Fowler is in the thick of the chase for his first major championship with 18 holes left. It's the first time that has happened since 1998-2000.

The soft, forgiving conditions created opportunity for major movement up the leaderboard for those players willing to take it.

"It's going to be a really cool day for someone [Sunday]", Fowler said. Typically, a U.S. Open final round is one of attrition, last man standing. "And secondly, Erin Hills isn't exactly Oakmont". There have been no reports yet of anyone getting sick.

It capped quite a journey for the 27-year-old Floridian. For more of the same can be one's only hope, greedy though that is. "But it isn't a U.S. Open course that I'm familiar with the way it was set up".

"And the greens are absolutely handsome, but not too hard to putt".

Fellow Englishman Andrew Johnston mixed three birdies with four bogeys as he slipped back to one under with a 73.

"It's been an off-putting week for me", Spieth said. "I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did". I'm sure I won't sleep in.

Whether this has been a good USA open so far seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

His coolness under pressure should have come as no surprise - and it will be even more vital on Sunday.

"We're in a good spot", Fowler said. I still feel like I've got some game.

A major trophy would undoubtedly make a nice addition. Two bogeys somehow add to the luster. There were five after Saturday's round.

The golf ball from Saturday's round will need to find a home alongside the other memorabilia in Harmony Landing's pro shop that commemorates Justin's success The front counter's display case holds flags and gloves and other memorabilia that highlight the many accomplishments of Thomas' decorated career.