American Justin Thomas equalled the lowest score in major championship history in stunning fashion to surge into contention for the US Open at Erin Hills.

Thomas fired nine birdies and an eagle on the 18th to card a nine-under-par 63 and take over the clubhouse lead on 11 under par, two shots clear of compatriots Brian Harman and Brendan Steele and England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

The 24-year-old’s score is the lowest in relation to par in the history of the US Open, surpassing the eight-under 63 carded by Johnny Miller to win at Oakmont in 1973.

Amazingly it could have been even better if not for bogeys on the fourth and 10th, as well as a missed eagle putt from six feet on the 15th after he had driven the green on the 288-yard par four.

“The majors have a different feel and sound to the roars and to hear the crowd go crazy when I holed that putt on 18 was really cool,” said Thomas, whose back-to-back wins in Hawaii in January included an opening 59 in the Sony Open.

“But more important than that was just to get myself in contention to win the tournament.

“I could not have hit that three-wood to the last (from 299 yards) any better if I tried, just a little high cut and I was very fortunate for the overnight rain for the ball to stay there.

“When I saw it was about seven feet away I knew maybe we had a chance of history.”

Around 70 minutes earlier, compatriot Patrick Reed had faced a similar length putt to Thomas on the 18th to shoot eight under but missed his birdie attempt and had to settle for a 65.

That was a 10-shot improvement on his second round and left the 26-year-old on eight under par as he seeks to turn his Ryder Cup heroics into individual success.

Reed, who beat Rory McIlroy in the first singles contest at Hazeltine last year and was wearing the trousers from his Ryder Cup uniform, said: “You always can take that fire from Ryder Cup and use it in other events.

“But you’re talking polar opposites. You’re talking one-on-one competition against 155. Because of that you can go out and play some great golf but you have a bunch of guys out there that can play some good golf as well.

“I think the biggest thing is not getting ahead of yourself. Every time I’ve been in majors so far I’ve put so much emphasis on them and tried so hard at them that I kind of got in my way.

“This week I’ve been working with my coach, just sitting there and thinking, all right, let’s go out and try to make a good golf swing and try to make a good putt. And at the end of the day add them up and see how you do.

“Seems to be working pretty well. And I’m kind of going out there and just doing it, and letting it go.”