While many of the contenders will tee off later on Sunday, many golfers still in the hunt are already playing their fourth rounds at Merion Golf Club, hoping to improve their chances of winning the 2013 U.S. Open.
Phil Mickelson enters the fourth and final round at one-under, just a shot better than Charl Schwartzel, Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker. Mickelson, who’s celebrating his 43rd birthday on Sunday, is attempting to win his first career U.S. Open; he has finished second on five occasions.
There are several golfers within reach of Mickelson and the trio of challengers at even as well, so the major is far from a lock. Merion has played a lot tougher than many expected this week and no golfer is guaranteed to play a clean fourth round. At Merion, anything is possible.
So, who will take home the U.S. Open title? Let’s take a look at how some of the golfers in the field have played on Sunday to this point.
*All scores are up to date as of 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 16.
Full 2013 U.S. Open Leaderboard
Michael Weaver: +15 (4)
The first three days at Merion weren’t very kind to Michael Weaver. He entered Sunday at 16-over, having immense issues during his third round while shooting eight-over. He shot four-over on Thursday and Friday. While he’s still far from the top of the leaderboard, he got off to a good start on Day 4.
Weaver shot two-under through the first pair of holes. The fourth hole has given him a ton of trouble this week, as he bogeyed it in his first round, shot par in his second and triple-bogeyed on Saturday. On Sunday, Weaver bogeyed the fourth again.
While Weaver has struggled to defeat the fourth hole, his play in general just hasn’t been very good. He seems to be hitting a lot of poor shots, which have greatly contributed to his high score. He just made the cut and will most likely finish toward the bottom of the pack.
Simon Khan: +23 (6)
Simon Khan was cut in each of the last two U.S. Opens he’s played in his career, and while he made the cut this week, it doesn’t appear very likely that he ends his round on Day 4 from anywhere but the cellar. He’s had arguably the worst three-plus rounds of any golfer in the tournament.
Khan shot four-over in his first round and snuck past the cut after shooting four-over again in his second. Saturday, though, was just an absolute disaster for the England native. He shot 12-over, racking up eight bogeys and a pair of double-bogeys. On the back nine, Khan only made par on two holes, bogeying or double-bogeying the rest.
Khan made par on the first two holes on Sunday, but the wheels started to fall off from there. He bogeyed the par-three on the third hole, made par on the fourth and then had back-to-back bogeys on the fifth and sixth holes. At 23-over through six holes on Sunday, it can't get much worse for Khan.
Shawn Stefani: +17 (6)
Shawn Stefani entered the weekend just a few shots off the lead. He played a relatively clean round on Thursday, shooting even par until the 18th when he double-bogeyed. In Round 2, a pair of hiccups put him at five-over heading into Saturday’s third round.
That’s where everything went wrong.
Stefani got off to a horrific start on the front nine, as nothing—and I mean nothing—was going his way. He shot 11-over on the front nine, making par on just one hole and bogeying or double-bogeying the other eight holes. The back nine was better, but he still had a terrible round overall.
Stefani put his third-round struggles behind him, as he’s gotten off to a good start on Sunday. Through six holes, Stefani has birdied half of the holes and has yet to hit a poor shot that’s left him in position to not make par. If he can continue to play this way, he can save a bit of face after a nightmare on Saturday.
Martin Kaymer: +13 (4)
Martin Kaymer took the course at Merion looking to add a second major trophy to his career resume, winning the PGA Championship three years ago. Kaymer has had a bit of U.S. Open success in the past, but has never finished better than tied for eighth place—which isn’t anything to scoff at.
Kaymer didn’t play well early, though, which has plagued the opportunity for him to win in Pennsylvania this weekend. He shot six-over in his first round, struggling to play well on the final holes of the back nine. His second round was much cleaner, but he had more issues in his third, shooting seven-over.
Entering Sunday at 15-over, not many are expecting Kaymer to finish among the leaders, but playing well in his fourth round should improve his spot on the leaderboard. Kaymer has two birdies through the first two holes and is now at just 13-over. While that’s still bad, he’ll take whatever he can get at this point.