U.S. Open golf scores 2013: Phil Mickelson leads after 54 holes at 1-under

Ross Kinnaird

After 54 holes of the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson remains as the only player under par. He'll be in the final group on Sunday, playing for his first U.S. Open title.

Phil Mickelson started out his third round slowly, but three birdies on the final nine holes propelled him back into the lead at the 2013 U.S. Open. Mickelson shot an even-par 70 on Saturday and sits atop the leaderboard at 1-under, good for a one-stroke lead.

As he did in the first two rounds, Mickelson played the toughest stretch of the Merion Golf Club as well as anyone. While other leaders, including Charl Schwartzel and Huter Mahan, limped into the clubhouse, Mickelson played the difficult final stretch from No. 14 to No. 18 at even. He took over sole possession of first place with a birdie at No. 17, just one of five birdies at the 17th on the day. Mickelson's lone blemish on the final stretch came at No. 18, where his par putt came up a half-rotation short.

Mickelson got off to a bit of a shaky start, with bogeys at No. 3 and No. 5, but things changed once he made the turn. Heading to the backside, Mickelson had just one birdie in his last 29 holes, but he quickly changed that with a birdie on the short Par 4 10th hole, and that proved to just be the start. He moved back to even par on the day with another birdie at No. 11, and Mickelson's round could have been even better, as he had a number of birdie putts come up just short on the final nine holes.

Although Mickelson will open the final round with the lead, he'll have a number of elite players right behind him. Of the six players within two shots of the lead, five are ranked in the top 22 in the world. Luke Donald, the No. 6 player in the world, will open the final round one-stroke behind Mickelson as he chases his first major title. Donald had a chance to join Mickelson in the red through three rounds, but double-bogeyed the 18th hole to drop to 1-over.

Hunter Mahan and Charl Schwartzel were tied for the lead at 2-under late in their rounds, but both finished bogey-bogey to drop to even par. Steve Stricker is also even-par through three rounds after carding his second-straight 70. Mahan will play with Mickelson in the final pairing on Sunday.

With approachable pin locations, Merion was supposed to be at its easiest on Saturday, but once again the course got the better of most players. The course played a bit more than four strokes over par on Saturday, slightly more difficult than it did on Thursday, but nearly a stroke easier than it did on Friday.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were among the player struggling on Saturday, as both the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world played their way out of contention. McIlroy shot a 5-over 75 and is now nine strokes off the lead at 8-over. Woods shot a 76 in the third round and is 9-over for the tournament and well out of contention.

Here'e a look at where the field stands heading into Sunday's final round:

Place Player Score
1 Phil Mickelson -1
T2 Hunter Mahan E
T2 Charl Schwartzel E
T2 Steve Stricker E
T5 Justin Rose 1
T5 Luke Donald 1
T5 Billy Horschel 1
8 Jason Day 2
9 Rickie Fowler 3
10 Michael Kim (a) 4
T11 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 5
T11 Ian Poulter 5
T11 Henrik Stenson 5
T11 Nicolas Colsaerts 5
T11 John Senden 5
T16 David Lingmerth 6
T16 Paul Casey 6
T16 Paul Lawrie 6
T16 Lee Westwood 6
T16 Charley Hoffman 6
T16 Bo Van Pelt 6
T16 Ernie Els 6
T23 Bubba Watson 7
T23 Edward Loar 7
T25 Jason Dufner 8
T25 Jerry Kelly 8
T25 Rory McIlroy 8
T25 Morten Orum Madsen 8
T25 Mathew Goggin 8
T25 Brandt Snedeker 8
T31 Jamie Donaldson 9
T31 John Huh 9
T31 Cheng Tsung Pan (a) 9
T31 Matt Kuchar 9
T31 John Parry 9
T31 Padraig Harrington 9
T31 Matt Bettencourt 9
T31 Tiger Woods 9
T39 Hideki Matsuyama 10
T39 Scott Langley 10
T39 Bio Kim 10
T39 Adam Scott 10
T39 David Hearn 10
T44 K.J. Choi 11
T44 Webb Simpson 11
T44 Sergio Garcia 11
T44 Carl Pettersson 11
T44 George Coetzee 11
T44 Marcel Siem 11
T44 Russell Knox 11
T44 Geoff Ogilvy 11
T52 Kevin Chappell 12
T52 Josh Teater 12
T52 Nicholas Thompson 12
T55 Martin Laird 13
T55 Scott Stallings 13
T55 Steven Alker 13
T55 Dustin Johnson 13
T55 Mike Weir 13
T60 Alistair Presnell 14
T60 Jim Herman 14
T60 Matt Weibring 14
T63 David Howell 15
T63 Martin Kaymer 15
T65 Michael Weaver (a) 16
T65 John Peterson 16
T65 Kevin Phelan (a) 16
68 Peter Hedblom 17
T69 Shawn Stefani 20
T69 Kyle Stanley 20
T69 Simon Khan 20
72 Kevin Sutherland 21
73 Robert Karlsson 22

More golf from SB Nation:

Poor 3rd dooms Tiger | Why do we cheer for Tiger?

Think Merion is unfair? It’s not supposed to be easy

Who is Billy Horschel? | Horscel dance

Sergio heckled with taunts of "Fried chicken!"

Four Days in Fort Worth: Putting on a PGA Tour event

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