After two incredible days of golf, the top of the leaderboard at the 2013 U.S. Open is full of names you likely recognize, and a couple you probably don't.
Phil Mickelson is tied with Billy Horschel (see what I mean?) for the 36-hole lead at one under par. Five other players are tied in third place at even par, though only three of them had completed their rounds as of Friday night before the horn sounded.
Many players had yet to finish their second rounds, and those who didn't will have long days on Saturday—provided they made the cut, which is projected at seven over par.
After rain hammered the East Course at Merion the week leading up to the U.S. Open, the track is playing fast and tough (as the leaderboard clearly illustrates). With little rain in the forecast, according to Weather.com, players will encounter even more difficulty in the final two rounds.
Here's what you need to know in order to catch all of the action on Day 3 at Merion.
When: Round 2 will continue beginning at 7:15 a.m. ET
Where: Merion Golf Club (East Course) in Ardmore, Pa.
TV: NBC starting at 12 p.m. ET
Live Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra online, beginning at 12 p.m. ET.
Top Storylines Heading into Weekend
Is 2013 Lefty's Year to Break Through?
Nobody can match Mickelson when it comes to second-place finishes at the U.S. Open. He has five such finishes to his name, and he's in the driver seat heading into the weekend to win this year's event.
After posting a score of 67 on Thursday, Mickelson gave a couple strokes back to the field on Friday, posting a two-over-par round of 72. Interestingly enough, it was Lefty's putter that failed him—something that doesn't happen often.
In his own words, Mickelson "got shut out" on Friday, per the PGA Tour:
He was striping the ball from tee to green, hitting a high percentage of fairways and greens. Unfortunately, his putter just isn't working. For the week, Mickelson has averaged 1.72 putts per hole—close to the field average. Given Lefty's usual brilliance with the flat stick, this comes as a huge surprise.
Tiger and Rory Lurking
Don't look now, but Woods and McIlroy—the world's No. 1 and No. 2 golfers—are just four shots off the lead at three over par.
Neither player has looked particularly sharp thus far, which is all the more reason the rest of the field should be afraid.
Between the two of them, they've logged 18 bogeys in the first two rounds.
They've also posted a combined 12 birdies.
If either player manages to cut out some of those mistakes on Saturday while continuing to score three birdies per round, they'll surge up the leaderboard as the rest of the field wilts under the pressure of Moving Day at the U.S. Open.
Can Billy Horschel and Amateur Cheng-Tsung Pan Keep Up?
With just one PGA Tour victory under his belt, nobody expected Horschel to be tied for the lead heading into the weekend.
Similarly, University of Washington's Pan (even par through nine holes in his second round) wasn't expected to show up and outplay the world's best at what is traditionally the toughest tournament on the calendar.
As we've seen over the years, however, the competition only gets more fierce and the course only gets more difficult as the weekend wears on. Nerves get frayed, big scores jump up and bite players when they least expect it and leaders plummet down into oblivion.
Both of these players are already playing with house money, and it will be fascinating to see how they fare as the going gets tough on Saturday.
Stats courtesy of USOpen.com
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