Koepka, Harman pull clear as U.S. Open nears conclusion

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Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman pulled clear of the field in the final round of the U.S. Open, but Rickie Fowler remained handily placed with a dramatic conclusion in prospect at a windy Erin Hills.

After three days of low scoring, the field faced a stiffer challenge on Sunday as gusts made birdies much harder to come by.

Yet that did not stop Koepka from making a wonderful start - birdies at the first and second lifting the big-hitting American to 13 under for the tournament.

Overnight leader Harman appeared nervous early on but rescued pars on the opening two holes before reclaiming a share of the lead thanks to a 29-foot birdie putt on the third.

The left-hander and Koepka remained locked together as they neared the turn, but the latter then found another birdie at the eighth to move clear at the summit.

Fowler was three off the pace in third after mixing two birdies with a solitary dropped shot on his front nine, while Hideki Matsuyama was four back and the form man on the course, four under through 12 holes on Sunday.

Justin Thomas made history on Saturday with the lowest score to par in U.S. Open history, but the 24-year-old American was enduring very different fortunes 24 hours later as he dropped three shots over the first six holes to fall six off the pace.

Patrick Reed also appeared to have slipped out of contention, while Charley Hoffman briefly reached 10 under only to blow his chances with a triple-bogey seven on the eighth.