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.

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

Key Takeaways

  • The U.S. Open scoring record for one, 18-hole round is 63.
  • The first golfer to record a 63 in this tournament was Johnny Miller at the 1973 U.S. Open.
  • Justin Thomas' 63 in the 2017 U.S. Open is the only one recorded on a par-72 golf course.

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 five times since.

Here are the golfers who share the record, most recent listed first, with the lowest rounds in U.S. Open history:

  • Tommy Fleetwood: Fourth round, 2018 U.S. Open, Shinnecock Hills
  • 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. Nicklaus and Miller are the only golfers who won the U.S. Open in which they scored a 63.

Weiskopf finished in 37th place in 1980; Singh tied for 20th in 2003; and Thomas tied for ninth in 2017. Fleetwood almost reached the winner's circle in 2018 — his final-round 63 earned him second place, one stroke behind winner Brooks Koepka.

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.

After beginning the final round in 12th place, Miller hit all but two fairways, and hit all 18 greens. It happened at Oakmont Country Club, considered by many among the toughest golf courses in the world. See our recap of the 1973 U.S. Open for more details.

Thomas' 63 Was Most Under-Par

Justin Thomas' score of 63 in Round 3 at the 2017 U.S. Open is the only one of the U.S. Open 63s recorded on a par-72 layout. That means Thomas' 63 was 9-under par, the most under-par of any of them.

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