Tommy Fleetwood, Oh So Close

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — As he made his way toward the 18th green on Sunday, Tommy Fleetwood removed his cap and waved to fans cheering from all sides. The roars lasted for nearly a minute, even though it was still several hours before the United States Open would end.

But a blistering round had put Fleetwood, a 27-year-old Englishman, in position to break a hallowed tournament scoring record, and suddenly he was near the top of a crowded and chaotic Sunday leader board at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

Only five players had ever shot 63 in a round at the U.S. Open, and Fleetwood was looking at a nine-foot uphill putt on the 18th to do one better.

“I actually hit the putt I wanted to,” Fleetwood said afterward. “But it was so steep, that green. It was a bit slower than what I thought.”

His putt veered right, and Fleetwood had to settle for a record-tying 63, just the second time that mark had been reached in the final round — after Johnny Miller in 1973. The difference is that Miller won.

Fleetwood had a lot more players to leapfrog for this year’s title. He began the day at nine over par, in 23rd place, and six shots behind the leaders — Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, Tony Finau and Dustin Johnson.

But Fleetwood knew that Shinnecock Hills had humbled many of the world’s best golfers. Soaring temperatures and blustery wind elevated the scoring average to 75.3 on Saturday, when no player in the later rounds went under par.

“It’s so easy to just give up or get angry with the course or the conditions, but you can’t do that,” Fleetwood said, “because you never know.”

After players criticized the United States Golf Association for its pin placements, given the conditions, the course was more favorable on Sunday.

“It was a bit softer,” said Fleetwood, who has won overseas but never in the United States. “The pins were a little bit nicer, and it’s score-able.”

Fleetwood said he felt the record might be in his grasp as early as the seventh hole, when he was four under for the day. He had made a 56-foot birdie putt on the second hole, and he would drain a 29-footer on the 15th for his fourth consecutive birdie on the back nine.

His incredible run ultimately left him in second place at two over, just one stroke higher than Koepka’s winning score. Fleetwood hung around to see if his score was good enough to get him into a playoff for the championship, but ultimately that putt at 18 cost him his chance to keep playing, and his chance at history.

“Obviously that’s the putt that will play on your mind,” Fleetwood said. “Because that was the last shot you hit. And that was your chance.”

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page D8 of the New York edition with the headline: Consolation Prize for 2nd: Joining Elite Who Shoot 63. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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