Things are tight at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Course in Ardmore, Pa. Phil Mickelson is tied for the lead with Billy Horschel at one under par after a two-over 72 on Friday. Mickelson salvaged what could have been a disastrous day with his only birdie of the round on the final hole.
Here is a look at the leaderboard.
Horschel and Mickelson swapped first- and second-round scores. Horschel produced the three-under 67 Mickelson shot on Thursday, while Mickelson picked up Horschel's 72 from Round 1.
At 9:05 p.m. ET with a few late starters still on the course, 12 men are separated by just two strokes.
Tiger Woods is battling an injury, per Brendan Prunty of the New Jersey-Star Ledger, but he managed an even-par 70 to stay at three-over overall. Woods is just one of the golfers still in striking distance.
Here are the highlights of Friday's action.
Mickelson's Struggles and Happy Ending
In addition to bogeying the first hole of the day, Mickelson also produced back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th hole. During the front nine, he missed several opportunities for birdies.
Because this is the U.S. Open, pars certainly have a greater value. Still, it is hard not to wonder just how good his day could have been with a few conversions on short putts.
Kieran Clark of EDraft puts Lefty's play into perspective:
Despite the missed opportunities, Mickelson's birdie on 18 was big.
The 26-year-old put up four birdies on Friday that spurred him to a share of the lead and a 67. On Thursday, Horschel struggled on the back nine, but in the second round, his only misstep was on the 13th hole.
U.S. Open Golf tweeted this post-round interview with Horschel:
Ones to Watch This Weekend
Besides Mickelson and Horschel: Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Cheng Tsung Pan are all just one shot off the lead at the time of this update. All five men will be factors this weekend.
Although Tiger Woods isn't at his best physically, he's still just four shots behind the leaders. Woods' grit and the course difficulty could create an opportunity for him to climb.
Don't you dare count him out with two rounds left to play.
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