A messy second day at Merion Golf Club turned Friday into a nightmare for most golfers, severely evening up the playing field and leaderboard at the 2013 U.S. Open and guaranteeing the weekend to be tightly contested.
Heading into Day 3, we have an unheralded golfer who is emerging as one of the biggest contenders scattered in with a heap of star golfers in contention.
Let's take a look at the live, real-time leaderboard for the U.S. Open and highlight the biggest storylines set to unfold on Saturday's moving day.
Day 3 Storylines
Can Lefty Distance Himself From the Pack—Again?
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Fan-favorite Phil Mickelson was the story of Day 1 with his score of 67 after making an overnight flight to Pennsylvania early Thursday, and he quickly became the talk of the course on Day 2 before even teeing off.
Why? His three-under-par score looked better and better as the tough conditions continued to frustrate the field.
He finished with a 72 on Friday, hitting an incredible 25-foot birdie on 18 to cap off an otherwise poor afternoon of putting. Though his work on the fairways was excellent, a handful of missed opportunities have separated Mickelson from building a sizable lead and he recognized it, per PGA Tour.
Phil: "I got shut out today. I actually played really well. I just didn't capitalize on the birdie opportunities." #USOpen
If the course conditions return to their early-Thursday form, Mickelson could take the field by storm once again and set himself up for a huge final round that could result in his first U.S. Open championship.
Mickelson has two great rounds of golf as well as a huge birdie on the 18th hole to build some momentum, and what he can do with it on Saturday will be the headline of moving day.
Who Is Billy Horschel?
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A name unknown earlier in the week by so many people who were looking forward to the year's second major, Billy Horschel has put himself in position to win the U.S. Open.
His second-round score of 67 sent shockwaves through the field of the world's best golfers, most of whom shot in the mid-to-high 70s on the day. It also got him a tie for the lead with Mickelson.
To put Horschel's inexperience into perspective, he's already claimed his best finish at the U.S. Open (he was cut in his only other appearance, in 2006) despite what he does the rest of the tournament.
And on one of the toughest courses out there, Horschel stood above the rest of the field for much of Thursday, per ESPN (Mickelson would join him under par by the end of his round).
There's only ONE person (Billy Horschel) currently under par at the #USOpen.
Translation = Merion is ridiculously difficult.
But he's not looking to set any career bests this weekend. Not with a share of the lead on Saturday morning.
Can Tiger, Rory Make a Surge Before Sunday?
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Given that both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy shot a 70 on Friday during some of the worst playing conditions imaginable, it's safe to say the world's two highest-ranked golfers are in good position heading into the weekend.
For Tiger, perhaps not. Justin Ray of ESPN was quick to point out after Woods' round that he hasn't had luck in past majors when trailing so much (note: he finished Friday tied for 17th, not 24th).
Tiger Woods has never won a major when outside the top-5 entering the weekend. T-24th right now.
He's right. McIlroy is as hot and cold as they come, but you can almost always tell by now whether or not he's folding in a major.
On a course as unwilling as Merion has been this week, McIlroy has avoided carding one of his signature 76s or 78s. In fact, he's leaps and bounds away from that type of performance. And that's enough to prove he'll be rolling along this weekend.