US Open Golf 2013 Leaderboard: Day 3 Updates on Golf's Top Stars and Sleepers

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US Open Golf 2013 Leaderboard: Day 3 Updates on Golf's Top Stars and Sleepers
David Cannon/Getty Images

As Day 3 tees off at Merion Gulf Club, we're set to see the leaderboard shift in every direction as contenders get in position on Saturday's moving day. 

Friday ended with Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel tied for the lead at one under par, but a slew of contenders sit just a couple of birdies away from blowing open the entire tournament. 

Will Lefty win his first U.S. Open? Can Tiger Woods overcome his five-year drought and a four-stroke deficit? Is Horschel the real deal? 

All of these questions and countless more will be answered on Day 3.

Here's the latest leaderboard updates and top contenders to look out for on Saturday.

 

Leaders

T1: Phil Mickelson

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Lefty turned an overnight flight early Thursday into an opening-round lead at Merion, and followed that up with an excellent second round that puts him in great position for the weekend.

Mickelson's 72 doesn't look dominating on paper, but he struck the ball incredibly well on Friday and just couldn't capitalize on his chances. That changed on the 18th green, however, when he holed an improbable 25-foot birdie to make him one of two players to play under par through 36 holes. 

It's been well documented that Mickelson has never won a U.S. Open despite coming in second a record five times, but he's proven ready to get that monkey off his back.

 

T1: Billy Horschel

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Billy Horschel has already posted his best finish at the U.S. Open despite the action at Merion only being two days old. In his only appearance in 2006, he failed to make the cut.

Though with a share of the lead heading into the weekend, Horschel has his sights on much more than just notching a personal-best feat. 

Horschel hit all 18 greens during his round on Friday, setting a mark that hasn't been touched in over a decade, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

The average golf fan might not have known too much about the 26-year-old heading into Merion, but he's surely already made his mark on the golf world. 

 

T3: Luke Donald

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Luke Donald bogeyed five of his last nine holes to finish out Friday, and it turned what would've been a massive lead into a one-shot deficit.

Donald joined Mickelson at the top of the leaderboard for much of the first two days, and despite his late shortcomings, the rest of the field's struggles have kept him very much in the running.

A 68 followed by a 72 has put Donald just one shot off the lead, and you can bet that one of the world's best non-major-winning golfers is ready to chase down that elusive U.S. Open title. 

 

T3: Steve Stricker

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Steve Stricker's opening-round pairing garnered plenty of hype, but not in large part due to Stricker's presence. He made sure his play didn't reflect that.

Stricker shot one of the best scores of the day with a 69 on Friday, putting him one stroke away from the lead.

The 46-year-old is no stranger to entering the weekend of a major championship with a huge opportunity, but he's yet to cash in on one. Expect him to use that as motivation and stick around the top of the leaderboard. 

 

T3: Justin Rose

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Justin Rose has been sneaking quietly under the radar so far at the U.S. Open, but that's probably the way the 32-year-old wants it.

Rose's name garnered a lot of hype heading into Merion, and he's proven that talk to be warranted as he's sitting at even par. His round of 69 on Friday is only a sign of things to come.

After bogeying three of the final six holes in his first round, Rose figured out the back nine on Friday as he only posted one bogey the second time around.

Rose has been on the big stage before, and he'll use that to his advantage amid a whirlwind of emotions this weekend.

 

T3: Ian Poulter

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Nobody had a more up-and-down first round than Poulter, who notched a double bogey and four bogeys to go along with five birdies. 

He shot incredibly more consistent on Friday through 14 holes, posting a one-under score for the day that put him at even par for the tournament. He converted two birdies and only dropped one bogey. 

The 37-year-old has spent his time at the top of the leaderboard this weekend, and he'll hope that continues through the weekend. 

 

T3: Cheng Tsung Pan (amateur)

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That "amateur" note beside Pan's name is no typo. There really is an amateur golfer within one shot of the U.S. Open lead. 

While it would be way too much to expect Pan to seriously contend for the title this weekend, his ability to post better scores than almost all of golf's elite stars speaks volumes to the skill this young star has. 

The 21-year-old is just two years removed from high school, and he has a shot to make history this weekend if he can keep it rolling.

 

Notable Players

T17: Tiger Woods

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We hear before every major that the exhausting, five-year major drought for Tiger will be ending shortly. But if he wants it to end this weekend, he'll have to figure out how to string together some birdies.

Woods sits at three over par for the tournament, a number that looks much better now than it did after Day 1. He's only four shots off the lead.

But despite still being in contention, the world's top-ranked golfer is struggling to find his game at Merion. He's shooting poorly off the fairway, leaving himself tough chips and putts to save par. 

It will take some great green placement for Woods on Saturday to give himself some makable birdie opportunities and claw his way into the lead.

 

T17: Rory McIlroy

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

McIlroy and Woods didn't just play together on Thursday and Friday, they also notched identical scorecards. Each golfer finished with a 73 and 70 for the first two rounds, respectively. 

But after finishing the first round poorly, the Northern Irish star got his game back in a big way. A 70 might not blow you away, but it should if you saw how difficult it was for golfers to make birdies on Friday. 

Some experts might write off McIlroy because he's not right in the thick of things, but we've learned to never count McIlroy out of the big moments. As the U.S. Open champion in 2011, he knows how to handle the moment, too. 

 

T53: Adam Scott

David Cannon/Getty Images

At seven over par, Adam Scott isn't quite having the week that he expected to in his first major since winning the 2013 Masters.

Very few people expected Scott to show signs of a Masters hangover, but he's been unlike himself here at Merion. He's been missing short putts, and putting himself in tough spots pretty often.

Technically he's only eight shots out of the lead, but that certainly feels like a mountainous climb on a course like Merion.

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