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US Open Leaderboard 2013: Live Day 4 Look-In and Overall Predictions

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US Open Leaderboard 2013: Live Day 4 Look-In and Overall Predictions
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

After 54 holes of action at Merion Gof Club, the 2013 U.S. Open is anybody's for the taking as a number of star golfers look poised to make history.

Phil Mickelson went into the clubhouse as the 54-hole leader after Day 3, maintaining his one-under par score with an even round of 70, rebounding from two early bogeys to climb back into the leader's position.

He has company near the top, with a dozen players still within striking distance of Lefty's lead at Merion.

Here's a look at the Day 4 leaderboard, with predictions for a final round that is sure to entertain. 

 

Predictions for Top Contenders

Phil Mickelson

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Lefty has continued to surprise this weekend and prove me wrong. What he's been able to do this weekend at Merion is beyond comprehension, given the rest of the field's performances. 

Mickelson, one of the all-time great American golfers, has never won at the U.S. Open, but you couldn't tell that by the way he's played through 54 holes. As the only golfer to shoot below par after three rounds, per ESPN, Lefty certainly enter's Sunday as the favorite.

You can just tell by his play that Mickelson is tired of hearing about his record five second-place finishes at the U.S. Open, and he showed it by valiantly playing with a course that obviously wasn't cooperating on this June weekend. 

ESPN personality Colin Cowherd gave a simple response to Lefty's success at the U.S. Open: 

If his first three rounds are any indication, Mickelson's best golf is yet to come and he's ready to make his 23rd time here the charm. 

Prediction: 68 (three under par, champion)

 

Hunter Mahan

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Despite the U.S. Open still having 18 holes left to play, Mahan has already made history for himself here with his success through 54 holes, as ESPN's Justin Ray shows us:

Mahan has been in his fair share of major tournaments, but he hasn't had the success like he experienced on Day 3 as he managed to pull back into contention with a round of 69 to follow up an identical score on the treacherous Day 2. 

In doing so, he was able to escape the effects of his opening-round 72 and climb back into the picture. Entering Sunday, he sits one shot back of the leading Mickelson. 

Mahan hasn't been in a moment like this, playing in the final pairing on a U.S. Open Sunday with the likes of Mickelson. I expect Mahan to handle it well, but leave some opportunities on the green.

Prediction: 72 (two over par, t-eighth place)

 

Steve Stricker

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

It never surprises many people when Steve Stricker performs well at a major like the U.S. Open, but the fact that he's a below-par round away from possibly winning his first one is exciting to say the least.

The 46-year-old has been in the top 10 for the better part of his career, yet hasn't finished in the top five of a major since 1998 at the PGA Championship. He's certainly in position to do so entering Sunday, after shooting even par on Day 3 and sitting one shot off Mickelson's lead. 

I like what I've seen from Stricker so far at Merion, but the leaders will take off on Sunday and he won't have enough left in the tank to stick with them. Still, he'll finish with his first top-five major finish in almost 15 years. 

Prediction: 71 (one over par, t-fourth place)

 

Justin Rose

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The 32-year-old golfer Justin Rose is certainly tired of coming up short at major championships, and he'll show that Sunday by playing desperate and taking some big chances.

While I expect him to have a strong finish on Day 4, it won't be enough to chase down Lefty as Rose will finish up just short of forcing a playoff with Mickelson.

Rose has put together some of the best golf so far at Merion, but he's wasted too many opportunities to feel strong about his chances against golfers who are hotter and coming in with more momentum.

Prediction: 68 (one under par, second place)

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