U.S. Open leaderboard: Players finding early success

USA TODAY Sports

Merion hasn't yielded many birdies thus far, but players going off early are finding some success on Sunday.

Players struggled to stay around par during the first three rounds of the U.S. Open, but if the early results are any indication, there may be more birdie opportunities on Sunday.

There have been 54 birdies in the early going on Sunday, nearly a third of Saturday's number with the majority of golf still to play. On Saturday, players carded a birdie on 13.3 percent of the holes. That number has risen to 18.8 percent early on Sunday. If that percentage holds, it would be by far the highest of the tournament. The second round yielded birdies on 10.4 percent of holes while players made birdie on 12.1 percent of holes in the first round.

Martin Laird and Mike Weir are among the players playing well on Sunday, Both are 3-under on their final rounds. Laird birdied four of his first eight holes while Weir had three birdies on his front nine. No player has shot better than a 67 this week, a number we may see bettered on Sunday.

If scoring conditions are indeed more favorable, we could be in store for an exciting final round. Fifteen players are within six strokes of the lead. While birdies are out there, Merion can still punish players, which could lead to big swings in the leaderboard.

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