The runner-up finish, along with a $1 million check, moved him into the top 50 and secured his spot in the Masters and U.S. Open.
It also put him squarely in the mix to capture his first major.
The U.S. Open was only his sixth start this year.
After weeks of pouring his heart and soul into qualifying for the first U.S. Open played in Wisconsin, Madison's Steve Stricker was right where he wanted to be after the tournament's second round.
There are 68 players who made the cut at the U.S. Open, but a whopping 42 of them are under par. There were 18 rounds in the 60s on Saturday.
Thomas finished in style, and it had nothing to do with his hot pink trousers. McIlroy came to life when it was far too late.
The Southport-born Fleetwood had five birdies in his round and just two bogeys. "So it's pretty simple, I just didn't get it in the hole fast enough". As we tend to do when previewing major championships, we focused on marquee names and forgot about other pros who fit the profile.
"The finish was awesome". I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did, I just struggled on the greens. "I didn't score and then I hit a couple loose shots off the tee that cost me my day".
"That means I'm a part of history", he said. I got off to a pretty good start, which I really haven't done yet, so that was nice. 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 don't really care".
And he still has a long way to go.
It was only a year ago at Oakmont that Andrew Landry, who had to make it through two stages of qualifying to get into his first U.S. Open, shared the 36-hole lead with Dustin Johnson. It dropped him two shots off the lead and, to add insult to injury, it will still count as a three-putt. His lone victory in America was the Houston Open in 2009, though not to be overlooked are his 14 victories around the world that include two victories in Abu Dhabi, one at the BMW PGA Championship, two at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and the World Match Play Championship that included Tiger Woods. I executed 18. I hit five good shots and tapped in for a 6 (on the par-5). He was 10 under.
With only eight shots separating top to bottom going into the weekend, someone from way back has a chance to make up ground in a hurry. I've got four weeks off now and I'm looking forward to it very much. And it's especially hard to win a first major when you're the rabbit, setting the pace for the opening two days.
Mr. Wisconsin made the cut on the number.
Even with the course drying out, there simply was not enough wind to frighten anyone on their game. He made an eagle on his final hole at the Sony Open in January to shoot 59, and he went on to break the PGA TOUR's 72-hole scoring record.
The biggest surprise at the U.S. Open on Friday was not who was leading but who was leaving. In the hay left of the 12th fairway, he gouged it out with a 9-iron and watched it roll to 10 feet. "I struck the ball nicely, had some opportunities, rolled a few putts over the edge".
When asked why there is so little separation among the field, Holmes said: "It's so long". "It's definitely out there if you can get yourself on the fairways. This is all new for me, just trying to do the best I can".
But the work is not done.
On that occasion Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Hale Irwin and Ray Floyd shared the halfway lead, with Irwin going on to win the "Massacre at Winged Foot" on seven over par.