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US Open Golf 2013 Leaderboard: Day 4 Updates on Golf's Top Stars and Wild Cards

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJune 16, 2013

ARDMORE, PA - JUNE 15:  Phil Mickelson of the United States smiles on the 18th hole during Round Three of the 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club on June 15, 2013 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The U.S. Open heads into its final round with Phil Mickelson (-1) as the lone golfer under par. A group of nine players are within five strokes of Lefty.

This sets up for a wild finish at the stingy Merion Golf Club.

Adding to the excitement will be five finishing holes that all rank in the upper half of the hardest holes for this tournament. That all climaxes with the No. 1 most difficult hole: the 18th.

So, as we embark on what should be a memorable Sunday, take a look at the leaderboard, and then I'll get you up to speed on the biggest stars and wild cards heading into Sunday. 

*All stats via USOpen.com unless otherwise noted.


Top Stars

Phil Looks for His First U.S. Open Championship

Five times Mickelson has been runner-up in this major, and he has yet to find that maiden win. He is in prime position to do so this year. 

Not only does he have a wealth of experience and a one-stroke advantage, but as this course dries out and the greens get firmer, it is more tailored to his lofted game. 

Mickelson always runs the risk of getting into trouble off the tee, but he has managed his game wonderfully, and he's hitting 71.4 percent of his fairways for the tournament. Also, his putting has been phenomenal.

He is the clear favorite heading into Sunday.

Tiger and Rory Fizzle

Playing together for the third straight day, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy played themselves out of contention on Saturday. 

Rory fired a 75 in Round 3, and that was actually one better than Tiger. For the tournament, Rory sits at eight-over and Tiger at nine-over. 

Putting was the biggest culprit for both on Saturday, and the usually reliable chipping game of Woods is nowhere to be found. 

It has been a tournament to forget for the world's top two golfers. 

Wild Cards

Billy Horschel

Billy Horschel began Saturday with a share of the lead, but a three-over 39 on the front side quickly had him playing catchup. 

Horschel was not striking the ball as well as he did in Round 2 when he hit every green, but it was largely his putter that failed him. It was also the putter that prompted Horschel to take his frustrations out on his ball: 

However, despite playing in just his second major ever, Horschel did not wilt. He played the back at one-under, and he parred the last four holes. Horschel now sits just two off the lead at one-over.

In that finish, Horschel proved he had the fortitude to handle being in contention on Sunday at a major. 

Hunter Mahan

We've all known for a while that Hunter Mahan had the talent to win a major. He is one of the best ball strikers on the tour. However, learning to handle the pressure has been a process for Mahan. 

Mahan memorably faltered on a chip in 2010 with the Ryder Cup on the line:

In the press conference following the loss, Mahan was too emotional to talk. Mickelson bailed him out by answering the question and showing support for Mahan.

Now, Mickelson will be his playing partner as the five-time PGA winner tries to notch his first major. 

Mahan has made great strides in his ability to handle pressure. He proved this by winning the 2012 WGC Accenture Match Play Championships and then finishing runner-up there this year. 

Firing consecutive 69s heading into Sunday, Mahan has a hot hand and a great chance to take the victory. 

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