Mickelson Leads, 18 Holes from First US Open Title

Mickelson Leads, 18 Holes from First US Open Title

Phil Mickelson leads the U.S. Open after the third round and is 18 holes away from winning his first U.S. Open title.

After shooting an even-par 70 on Saturday at classic Merion Golf Club just outside of Philadelphia, he is the only player under par for the tournament at -1. Two Americans, Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker, are at even par for the tournament along with Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters winner.

Mickelson has finished second at the U.S. Open five times, which is a record. With a dramatic birdie on the tough 17th hole, he was at -2 before bogeying the final hole when his par putt came up inches short.

Sunday is not only Fathers Day but Mickelson’s 43rd birthday. He said being paired with Mahan in the final round was going to be fun and noted that while there are birdies out on the course, each shot required the utmost focus because of how severely Merion has been penalizing wayward shots.

After his round, Mickelson said his past experiences at the open have been “heartbreaking” but said he was better prepared, in every sense, going into the final round “than I have ever been.”

“It’s a hard challenge but it’s fun,” he said.