Posted June 15, 2013 on AP on Fox
Five things to look for Saturday in the third round of the U.S. Open: ---- WILL PHIL HANG ON? Phil Mickelson has a checkered history in the U.S. Open and, unfortunately for him, not much of it is good. The five-time runner-up has never won the championship, and famously gave away the 2006 title on the last hole. Mickelson birdied the last hole Friday as darkness fell on Merion Golf Club to move back into a tie for the lead with Billy Horschel at 1-under par, and has 36 holes between him and the Open championship he desperately wants. ---- WHO IS BILLY HORSCHEL? Well, he's the winner of the Zurich Classic this year and a cut-making machine who seems to be coming into his own as a pro. The 26-year-old former Florida Gator showed he can play under pressure at the TPC Louisiana course, where he tied the course record with a 64 and made a 27-footer on the last hole to win. Still, he missed the cut in his only other Open in 2006, and playing under the spotlight on the weekend will be a new experience for him. ---- CAN TIGER STILL WIN? Yes he can, after a second round of even-par 70 put him within four shots of the lead. Tiger Woods faces a pair of obstacles, though, including an inflamed elbow and the fact he has never won a major after shooting over par over the first two rounds. Even though it's been five full years since he won his last Open, on one leg at Torrey Pines, he's still Tiger Woods, owner of 14 major titles. ---- ONE TOUGH OPEN: The talk coming in was that rain softened venerable Merion so much that players would have their way with the grand old course. So much for talk. Though there are still some groups that have to finish their second rounds, only Mickelson and Horschel are under par in the 156-man field. Players are averaging a whopping 74.69 over the par-70 course, where Ben Hogan won in 1950 and Bobby Jones completed his Grand Slam in 1930. --- BREAKTHROUGH FOR POULTER? Ian Poulter was the hero of the Ryder Cup for Europe last year and a consistent performer in big events. But he's yet to win a major championship and until he does he will always be listed in the second tier of players. Poulter started this Open with three straight birdies Thursday before faltering, but rebounded in his second round and was even par with four holes left. He should be among the late groups teeing off in the third round, poised to make a run at the lead.

Groundhog interrupts Phil Mickelson on fairway at US Open (Video)

Phil Mickelson was briefly delayed before taking his second shot on the 6th hole in Friday's second round of the US Open tournament when a groundhog ran across the fairway. Mickelson hit for par on the hole and finished second overall at the end of the round, so the interruption by the groundhog was not a big distractoin. Video via DunkCityFL. H/T FTW. Related posts...

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This wasn't the way it was supposed to end, not on Phil Mickelson's birthday and not at Merion Golf Club, where history will record with little fanfare outside of England that Justin Rose won his first major championship. When the rain began falling on the back nine Sunday after Mickelson pitched in for an eagle on the 10th hole to take the lead in the U.S. Open, you half...

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Mickelson dealt another heartbreaker

Justin Rose is a worthy United States Open champion. The 32-year-old Englishman is not only one of the sport's true gentlemen but arguably the best striker of a golf ball in the game. To seal his breakthrough major, he needed to hit three clutch shots on the final two holes at Merion on Sunday, the most demanding finish to any course anywhere. And who didn't feel for him...

Mickelson to play Malaysia tour stop

Phil Mickelson is heading to Malaysia later this year for the CIMB Classic. The PGA Tour announced Thursday that CIMB Classic is moving from The Mines to Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club for the Oct. 24-27 tournament. For the first time, the Malaysia event will be an official tournament in the 2013-14 schedule. Tiger Woods played in the tournament last year. Along with Mickelson...

Another Mickelson story at the US Open

By the time Phil Mickelson got some caffeine in him and began making birdies on the back nine, the fans who braved wild warnings of hail and torrential rain in the opening round of the U.S. Open started to get the idea that something more interesting than the weather was happening at venerable Merion Golf Club. In a place that oozes history, a modern kind of story was unfolding....

Mickelson holds lead after third round

Phil Mickelson has the lead after three rounds at the U.S. Open.

Justin Rose cries in memory of late father at US Open (Video)

Justin Rose shot 1-over par and beat Phil Mickelson and Jason Day by two strokes to win the 2013 US Open at Merion Golf Club on Sunday for his first career major. After making a putt on the 18th hole to solidify his final round score of 70, the Englishman pointed to the sky and [...]

Long day ends near top for Lefty

Even for Phil Mickelson, his path to the top of the leaderboard Thursday in the U.S. Open was unconventional.

Lefty's center stage in U.S. Open drama

Imagine what Frank Capra could do with Sunday's broadcast of the 113th United States Open? He'd have a nation in tears, kids cuddling their daddies tightly as dusk falls on Merion. What a narrative: Phil Mickelson as a modern day Jimmy Stewart aw-shucking his way to a first and long-in-the-making National Open on his 43rd birthday, which also happens to be Father's...

Amateurs enjoy sold performances at US Open

Pan Cheng-tsung had a pretty good day on the course. He felt even better about it when he scanned the scores. ''When I look at the scoreboard with my last name up there, it's pretty cool,'' he said. Taiwan-born Pan was one of several amateurs who had a respectable showing in Thursday's opening round of the U.S. Open. Pan shot a 2-over 72 at Merion Golf Club...

Taiwan-born Pan shoots 2-over 72

Pan Cheng-tsung had a pretty good day on the course. He felt even better about it when he scanned the scores. ''When I look at the scoreboard with my last name up there, it's pretty cool,'' he said. Taiwan-born Pan was one of several amateurs who had a respectable showing in Thursday's opening round of the U.S. Open. Pan shot a 2-over 72 at Merion Golf Club...
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