Moving day, a term applied to Saturdays at big golf tournaments, seemed to fit the description at the 2013 U.S. Open with players moving themselves in and out of contention before the final round.
One of two co-leaders to start the day, Phil Mickelson rebounded from a slow start to finish with the outright lead going into the clubhouse at one-under par. He shot a 70 on Saturday as the only player to finish below par, per PGA Tour.
Phil Mickelson is the only man under par (-1) through 54 holes. "This is a HARD challenge, but its a lot of fun." #usopen— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 16, 2013
Things didn't start out well for Lefty with two bogeys in the front nine, but as ESPN's Bob Harig makes clear, he figured out his game quickly thereafter on holes 10 and 11.
Phil, who began day tied for lead, now 3 back, no brdies #USOpen— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) June 15, 2013
Phil gets back into red numbers with another birdie at 11. That's 2 in a row to get to -1, 1 back of Schwartzel, Donald. #USOpen— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) June 15, 2013
Mickelson sat at two-under par heading into the 18th hole with Luke Donald as the only other player below par at one-under par. But Mickelson bogeyed and Donald double-bogeyed, opening up things for the final round as PGA Tour pointed out.
The 18th hole yielded NO birdies, but 10 double bogeys or worse today. Victims include Luke Donald, doubling to post 71. #usopen— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 16, 2013
If Lefty can hold onto his one-stroke lead through Sunday's final round, he'll notch his first ever U.S. Open championship.
Day 3 started with Mickelson and Billy Horschel tied for the lead at one-under par, but improved scores from across the field meant that lead wasn't always safe as players like Charl Schwartzel and Hunter Mahan climbed to two-under par for a time. Both would return to even par for the tournament, but each finished with a 69 on Saturday and sit just one shot back.
Justin Rose also sits within striking distance, two shots back at one-over par. Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman noted a change in the way Rose prepared for this year's U.S. Open, and apparently it's paid off so far.
Justin Rose tried new approach this major. Did early scout last Mon-Wed then flew home to chill with family. It's working.— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) June 15, 2013
Steve Stricker posted another strong round after entering the weekend at even par, and that's where he'd stay after a 70 on Saturday. Golf Channel's Jason Sobel had an odd theory for why Stricker is playing at such a high level.
Semi-retired Steve Stricker is tied for the lead. Makes sense. When most people stop working, their golf games get better.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) June 14, 2013
ESPN's Justin Ray added a staggering stat about Stricker, should he win his first major on Sunday.
If Steve Stricker (age 46) wins tomorrow, he will be the oldest US Open champion of all-time.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) June 16, 2013
One of the biggest names to emerge on Saturday was Mahan, but his wardrobe decisions before his third round took Twitter by storm. He sported a light-blue, flat-bill hat to go along with some other controversial picks.
Here's CBS Sports' Kyle Porter on the wacky wardrobe.
How many different people dressed Hunter Mahan today?— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 15, 2013
Sports Illustrated writer Stephanie Wei also weighed in:
Is Hunter Mahan color blind?? Baby blue, orange-red, grey and lime green. #sourskittles— Stephanie Wei (@StephanieWei) June 15, 2013
Amateur Michael Kim was vying for the lead for much of Saturday, and he finished right in the thick of things at four-over par after a third-round 71. He didn't end his round in ideal fashion, however, as PGA Tour noted:
Michael Kim remains the low amateur of the championship, despite bogey-double-bogey on final three holes to post 71 (+4 for week). #usopen— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 15, 2013
Despite the poor finish for Kim, he's still drawing praise from the golf world, particularly AP golf writer Doug Ferguson, and drawing comparisons to Beau Hossler who starred as an amateur contender in last year's event.
Michael Kim is this US Open's Beau Hossler.— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) June 15, 2013
Tiger Woods started Saturday just four shots back of the lead, but he continued to regress Saturday with a round of 75 that moved him up to eight-over par and 10 shots off Mickelson's lead. As Gary Williams of Golf Channel pointed out, it was a historically bad performance from Tiger:
Tiger posts highest 3rd round score of 76 as professional in US Open.— Gary Williams (@garywilliamsGC) June 15, 2013
One popular talking point heading into Merion was the feud between Woods and Sergio Garcia, two of the world's top golfers. While Woods has had his fair share of struggles, it's Garcia who has really lost his game.
As ESPN's Justin Ray points out via Elias Sports Bureau, Garcia notched a 10 on the 15th hole on Saturday after hitting his tee shot out of bounds three times.
From @EliasSports - 3 players have made 10 at the US Open since 2000: John Daly (2000), Alex Prugh (2007) and now Sergio Garcia today.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) June 15, 2013
After an exciting day of golf at Merion, where more contenders played their way down the leaderboard than those who played their way up, it's set to be an exclusive few golfers with the chance to win the 2013 U.S. Open.