But for years the U.S. Open has been the one tournament fans relied on to watch the world's best golfers be roughed up and spat out like weekend duffers.
Fleetwood, who was hoping to become the third English victor since 1924 after Tony Jacklin (1970) and Justin Rose (2013), began the day in a tie for second and made an encouraging start with a birdie from eight feet on the second. "I know I'm going to be nervous, I just need to harness that as best I can".
Tommy Fleetwood, who was hoping to follow in the footsteps of 1970 victor Tony Jacklin and 2013 champion Justin Rose, held a share of second place on 11 under par alongside Americans Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas. Aside from Rickie Fowler - who is ranked ninth in the world, contended at the Masters two months ago, and had top-5 finishes at all four majors in 2014 - no one among the top nine can lay claim to any kind of major championship insight.
Nobody in the top 16 on the leaderboard has won a major.
The Thomases are a family with a long golf lineage. In Hawaii in January in the first round at the Sony Open, he scalded to the sport's seventh-ever competitive 59, finishing that, too, with an eagle. I'd have to say yesterday's conditions were the best by far for the players. But I hit the ideal shot and I was made up when I got on the green. "I know it's not going to be an easy day, but I'm looking forward to getting the job done". I'm sure I won't sleep in.
"But I'm just so excited to give myself a great chance to win this golf tournament".More news: Still Swinging for the Fences — Trump Travel Ban
"I have pictured winning the US Open a lot of times before".
American Brian Harman, playing in his first major since missing the cut in all four in 2015, was the surprise leader on 12 under, the 30-year-old attempting to become the first left-hander to win the title in a week which saw six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson opt to attend his daughter's high-school graduation rather than compete. His score in relation to par - 9 under - was a U.S. Open record, and he finished the day at 11 under.
"I was hitting a 3-wood to lay-up, and he wasn't that far ahead of me", said his playing partner, Jonathan Randolph.
A commercial blimp crashed to the ground and caught fire just outside the course Thursday, about the time the county health department was analyzing samples that confirmed evidence of the E. coli bacteria in water at a hydration station near the 12th hole.
He drove the 288-yard, par-4 15th with that fairway wood (but missed the 6-foot eagle putt), then hit that same club twice to carry his ball onto the green of the 667-yard, par-5 18th. I've just got to keep going.
Thomas was already on course for a share of the lead as he stepped up to the 18th having carded nine birdies against two bogeys in a spectacular round.
Late last year, the 24-year-old from Louisville embarked on the best stretch of golf in his young career. "No reason to answer that", he said. That question will be answered today.