ERIN, United States (AFP) – Brian Harman has spent two years flying under the radar at major championships but was comfortable in his unaccustomed perch on top of the US Open leaderboard on Saturday.
The little-known 30-year-old from Savannah Georgia arrived in Erin Hills with low expectations given his form in majors.
He missed the Masters in April and did not play in any of last years four majors.
In the four majors before that, during the 2015 season, he missed the cut in each tournament. He had never made the cut in a US Open until this week.
“First cut made too. So we’re breaking down all kinds of barriers,” Harman joked on Saturday after a five-under-par 67 that left him one shot clear of the field heading into yesterday’s final round.
Harman took advantage of soft conditions to reel off six birdies against only one bogey to finish the day on 12 under after 54 holes.
“I’m proud of the way I hung in there today,” Harman said afterwards. “I got off to a pretty good start, which I really haven’t done yet, so that was nice.
“Struck it well, had a couple putts that could have gone that didn’t, but had a bunch of looks, hit a bunch of greens. That’s what you’ve got to do to play well around here.”
Harman, ranked 50th in the world, has spent much of his professional career toiling in the shadows.
He joined the PGA Tour in 2012, winning his first tournament in 2014. It was not until this year however at last month’s Wells Fargo Championship that he won his second, in his 172nd event.
Harman said he hopes to use the memory of that win – which saw him beat Dustin Johnson by one shot.
“I’ll draw on some of the preparations I did for that week,” Harman said. “Just kind of how I felt that morning before, because I remember specifically I kind of dealt with those emotions.
“Everyone has doubts, everyone has fears. For me, just trying to figure out what they are, and kind of rationalise them and deal with them.”