Phil Mickelson currently holds the third-round lead of the US Open, this time all to himself. Mickelson was the only golfer to finish in the red at Merion Golf Club, even though he lost his second-round lead on the front nine. However, he stormed back to finish at one-under par after 54 holes with a steady round of even-par 70, one stroke ahead Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel, and Steve Stricker.
Mickelson is a four-time winner of major championships, but never a U.S. Open as he has been runner-up a record five times. Many peg him to be the favorite to break through for his first United States Championship because he has experience winning majors and the length to approach increasingly firmer greens with high-trajectory shots. He also has the creative short game around the greens when he doesn’t reach them in regulation.
World No. 1 tour player Tiger Woods played himself out of contention with a ballooning 76, good for nine-over par overall and ten shots off the lead. No. 2 ranked Rory McIlroy didn’t fare much better, shooting 75, nine off the lead. Luke Donald played a brilliant round through 16 holes, but promptly shot bogey on the 17th and double-bogey on the 18th to shoot a 71, good for 1-over par after three rounds.
Both Mahan and Schwartzel closed out their rounds with bogey-bogey, as the last four holes of Merion showed their teeth with tight fairways, thick rough and pitched greens.
Billy Horschel, who shared the second round lead with Mickelson, shot a round of 72, two strokes behind the leader. Justin Rose joined Horschel and Donald at 1-over par through three rounds.
Final round play resumes Sunday at 8:44 AM Eastern time.