The 18-Hole Scoring Record in a US Open

Golfer Johnny Miller, first to shoot 63 in a US Open, pictured in 1976
Bettmann/Getty Images

The U.S. Open is known as the toughest tournament in golf. The USGA is notoriously stingy in setting up the golf courses, with the goal of "defending par" (making the winning score somewhere around par). So there aren't usually a ton of low scores in this tournament.

Which makes it a little surprising that the first-ever round of 63 in any major championship happened in the U.S. Open. And 63 is still the tournament scoring record for 18 holes.

63 Is the US Open Scoring Record for 18 Holes

The first 63 in U.S. Open history (or any of the four professional majors) was scored in 1973, and it has been matched only four times since.

Here are the five golfers who share the record, most recent listed first:

  • Justin Thomas: Third round, 2017 U.S. Open, Erin Hills
  • Vijay Singh: Second round, 2003 U.S. Open, Olympia Fields
  • Jack Nicklaus: First round, 1980 U.S. Open, Baltusrol
  • Tom Weiskopf: First round, 1980 U.S. Open, Baltusrol
  • Johnny Miller: Fourth round, 1973 U.S. Open, Oakmont

Nicklaus and Weiskopf matched 63s in the first round of the 1980 U.S. Open, a tournament Nickklaus went on to win. Neither Weiskopf, Singh nor Thomas won the tournaments where they shot 63; Nicklaus and Miller did.

Miller's 63 at Oakmont in 1973

That first 63 by Miller is often ranked as one of the handful of greatest rounds ever because not only was it the first 63 in major championship history, it also happened in the final round - and Miller won the tournament because of it.

Miller was six shots behind the leaders at the start of Round 4 but after that 63 wound up winning by one. See our recap of the 1973 U.S. Open for more details.

Thomas' 63 Was Most Under-Par

The most recent 63, Justin Thomas' in Round 3 at the 2017 U.S. Open, was the only one that happened on a par-72 layout.

That means Thomas' 63 was 9-under par.

Miller's 63 was 8-under on a par-71 layout. And the other three 63s, by Singh, Nicklaus and Weiskopf, were 7-under par, all happening on golf courses set up as par-70s.

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Kelley, Brent. "The 18-Hole Scoring Record in a US Open." ThoughtCo, Sep. 13, 2017, thoughtco.com/what-is-the-18-hole-scoring-record-in-a-us-open-1564678. Kelley, Brent. (2017, September 13). The 18-Hole Scoring Record in a US Open. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-the-18-hole-scoring-record-in-a-us-open-1564678 Kelley, Brent. "The 18-Hole Scoring Record in a US Open." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-the-18-hole-scoring-record-in-a-us-open-1564678 (accessed December 12, 2017).