The 18-Hole Scoring Record in the U.S. Open

What is the lowest 18-hole score ever recorded in the U.S. Open golf tournament — the lowest round in tournament history? That score is 62, and it was first achieved in 2023 — twice.

Who scored the first 62 in the 2023 U.S. Open? Rickie Fowler. It happened in the first round, which, for Fowler, began on the No. 10 hole (he played Los Angeles Country Club's back nine first, and finished on the front nine). Fowler actually had two bogeys on his first nine holes, on his second and eighth holes of the round. But he started with a birdie, and added four more birdies in his first nine holes to make the turn at 3-under 32. (LACC was set up as a par-70.)

Fowler began his second nine with three consecutive birdies, and also added birdies on the 15th and 17th holes. With no bogeys on his second nine, Fowler finished with a par of three on the final hole to shoot 5-under 30 over his second nine. Add it up and that is an 8-under 62 — the very first 62 in U.S. Open history.

But Fowler was the solo record-holder for only about 20 minutes. Xander Schauffele then matched Fowler by parring the final hole to record his own 62. Just like Fowler, Schauffele started on the back nine and finished on the front nine. And, same as Fowler, Schauffele shot 32-30.

The List: Lowest 18-Hole Scores, U.S. Open

  • Rickie Fowler, 2023, first round, Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club (par 70)
  • Xander Schauffele, 2023, first round, Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club (par 70)
  • Johnny Miller, 1973, final round, Oakmont Country Club (par 71) in Oakmont, Pennsylvania
  • Jack Nicklaus, 1980, first round, Baltusrol (Lower Course, par 70) in Springfield, New Jersey
  • Tom Weiskopf, 1980, first round, Baltusrol (Lower Course, par 70) in Springfield, New Jersey
  • Vijay Singh, 2003, second round, Olympia Fields Country Club (North Course, par 70) in Olympia Fields, Illinois
  • Justin Thomas, 2017, third round, Erin Hills (par 72) in Erin, Wisconsin
  • Tommy Fleetwood, 2018, fourth round, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70) in Southampton, New York
  • Tommy Fleetwood, 2023, fourth round, Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club (par 70)
As for that first 63, it was scored by Johnny Miller in the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. Miller was tied for 13th place, six strokes off the lead, after three rounds of play. He was an afterthought as the final round began.

But in that final round, Miller opened with four consecutive birdies, and went on to birdie the ninth, 11th, 12th, 13th and 15 holes. He hit all 18 greens in regulation and wound up winning by one stroke over runner-up John Schlee. Miller had a putt for 62 on the last green, but his ball lipped out. It wasn't just the first 63 in the U.S. Open, but the first 63 scored in any of the men's professional major championships.

Progression of 18-Hole U.S. Open Scoring Record

The first U.S. Open in 1895 was comprised of four, nine-hole rounds. The lowest 18-hole score in the second U.S. Open was 74, so that is where we start. These are the golfers who lowered the previous tournament records for low round, until reaching today's record, the first 62:
  • 74 — James Foulis, second (final) round, 1896
  • 73 — Gilbert Nichols, third round, 1902
  • 72 — Willie Anderson, Alexander Campbell, fourth round, 1904
  • 68 — David Hunter, first round, 1909
  • 67 — Willie Macfarlane, second round, 1925
  • 66 — Gene Sarazen, fourth round, 1932
  • 65 — James McHale (a), third round, 1947
  • 64 — Lee Mackey Jr., first round, 1950
  • 63 — Johnny Miller, fourth round, 1973
  • 62 — Rickie Fowler, first round, 2023
Easily the least-known names on the list are those of David Hunter, James McHale and Lee Mackey Jr. Hunter and Mackey have some things in common: Neither won any tournament resembling a PGA Tour event. Both blew up in their next round (following their record round) and finished outside the Top 20. Hunter followed his first-round 68 in 1909 with an 84 in Round 2, 16 strokes worse. He finished the 1909 U.S. Open in a tie for 30th place. In the 1950 U.S. Open, Mackey followed his Round 1 64 with a second-round 81, 17 strokes worse. He finished tied for 25th.

It was McHale's 65 whose scoring record Mackey broke by shooting 64. McHale was a former club pro whose amateur status had been reinstated by the USGA. In his 1947 record round, McHale also became the first golfer to score 30 over one of the nines in a U.S. Open.

Foulis, Anderson, Macfarlane, Sarazen and Miller all won the tournaments in which they lowered the record.

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