US Open Golf Field 2013: Golfers to Watch on Moving Day at Merion

Mike DudurichContributor IJune 14, 2013

US Open Golf Field 2013: Golfers to Watch on Moving Day at Merion

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    Saturday is known as "Moving Day" on the PGA Tour, and the majors are included in that tradition.

    It's the day players try to make a move to get themselves into position for a run at a victory on Sunday. The importance and stress of U.S. Open Saturday is magnified and makes for great drama, and the players and fans feel it.

    The following is a list of 10 players who merit watching Saturday.

Phil Mickelson

1 of 10

    Where He Stands

    He’s tied for the lead with Billy Horschel after making a long birdie putt (his only birdie of the round) on the 18th hole.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    Because Phil Mickelson is a walking, talking circus, and you never know what’s going to be playing under the big top.

    With a couple of exceptions, Mickelson surprisingly has been able to keep his ball in play at claustrophobic Merion. He could easily get hot again on Saturday or continue his Friday slide.

     

    Prediction

    I didn’t think he had a shot to win coming into this week. Now I can not only see it happening, but I think it will happen.

    The big left-hander will get it back together and and get into position for a Sunday showdown.

Billy Horschel

2 of 10

    Where He Stands

    Billy Horschel shot the best round of the tournament so far, posting a three-under 67 early. He then sat back and watched to see if he would be caught, and only Mickelson did.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    The 26-year-old won for the first time this year, going 20-under par at the Zurich Classic. Even more impressive is the fact that he hit all 18 greens in regulation in the second round.

    He’s aggressive and sometimes has trouble with patience, meaning just about anything could happen.

     

    Prediction

    At some point, his aggressive nature, not to mention his temper, will get him. Under the pressure of trying to stay in contention, I’m saying it gets him Saturday, and he’ll drop out of it.

Luke Donald

3 of 10

    Where He Stands

    After a second-round 72, Luke Donald sits in a tie for third at even par, a shot behind the leaders.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    The rap on Donald throughout his career has been his lack of strength, both mentally and physically.

    He’s overcome his lack of strength off the tee by becoming a superior ball-striker. It's still to be determined regarding the mental strength.

     

    Prediction

    When he had it going Friday, he played and looked like a champion. When he started to wobble, he looked like something considerably less than that.

    I’m saying the Saturday pressure will keep him moving in the wrong direction.

Steve Stricker

4 of 10

    Where He Stands

    He’s a shot out of the lead, in a five-way tie for third.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    The man with the golden putting stroke certainly has made his share over the first couple days.

    More importantly, he’s struck the ball well, and that’s keeping him in the hunt for his first major. Steve Stricker is a polished pro and a joy to watch.

     

    Prediction

    Stricker will hang in there all day and not make the big mistakes less-experienced players are prone to do when the heat is on. He’ll be in the top five going into Sunday’s final round.

Rory McIlroy

5 of 10

    Where He Stands

    Rory McIlroy’s in a tie for 17th after rounds of 73-70, four shots out of the lead.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    The kid is a former No. 1 player in the world before dropping all the way to No. 2.

    He hits the ball a mile off the tee, and he is capable of creating wonderful shots and a great deal of excitement. His season is getting better and better, and he could break out any time.

     

    Prediction

    He’s played with Tiger Woods the first two days and matched him shot for shot. His confidence is growing as his game gets better. McIlroy’s going to have a good weekend, starting Saturday.

Tiger Woods

6 of 10

    Where He Stands

    He’s in a tie for 17th after rounds of 73-70, four shots out of the lead.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    First, he’s Tiger Woods. Second, he played better in the second round than the first. Third, with the leaders coming back to the field Friday afternoon, he’ll be lurking when play begins Saturday.

     

    Prediction

    Despite his aching left elbow, Woods will play better and snuggle right up to the leaders. The Sunday leaderboard will be star-studded, headlined by Woods.

Justin Rose

7 of 10

    Where He Stands

    Justin Rose is tied for third at even par, just a shot behind Horschel and Mickelson.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    This guy is way too good to be wandering around the European and PGA Tours with no major titles.

    He’s one of the premier ball-strikers in the game, but he's had minimal success in majors converting those well-struck shots. He’s not necessarily a flashy player, but he’s among the world’s elite.

     

    Prediction

    Rose is a popular pick in every major championship, and you have to figure he’s going to get one at some point. He’ll play well Saturday, giving himself a chance on Sunday.

Ernie Els

8 of 10

    Where He Stands

    Ernie Els is three-over par for the tournament, tied for 17th, four shots behind Mickelson and Horschel.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    The man has won four major titles, including a pair of U.S. Opens. His swing is still as smooth and languid as it has been for decades.

    He’s made a habit of hanging around the lead, like he did last year at the Open Championship when Adam Scott imploded and handed the title to Els.

     

    Prediction

    He may be 43 years old, but he still has lots of game left. I don’t expect anything super-low from him Saturday, but he’ll be within striking distance come Sunday morning.

Jason Day

9 of 10

    Where He Stands

    Jason Day is tied for 17th at three-over par through 14 holes.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    This is one of the budding stars on the PGA Tour, a guy who almost won the Masters in April. He hits the ball hard and long and has a short game that kept him in the hunt at Augusta National.

     

    Prediction

    I’m expecting him to post one of the best rounds of the day in the third round to get himself in the heat of the hunt in the final round. If he does, the possibility exists for back-to-back major winners from Australia.

Nicolas Colsaerts

10 of 10

    Where He Stands

    After opening with a 69, Nicolas Colsaerts stumbled a bit to a 72 and a tie for eighth.

     

    Why You Need to Watch

    He’s called the "Belgian Bomber" because he’s a native of Belgium and hits the ball a mile. That may not manifest itself on a course like Merion, but he is a really good player, one capable of going on birdie and eagle runs.

     

    Prediction

    He doesn’t have much of a resume in the majors, and I’m not sure he’s going to start building one Saturday. Early trouble will get into his head, and his Saturday move will be a downward one.