The Norman Transcript

National Sports

June 16, 2013

Lefty leads after 3rd round at U.S. Open

ARDMORE, Pa. — Phil Mickelson began his week with a flight back-and-forth across the country. Even longer might be the 18 holes that now stand between him and that U.S. Open title he has been chasing his entire career.

And he’s never had a better opportunity than this one.

Despite a bogey on the final hole of a taxing Saturday afternoon, Mickelson was the sole survivor to par at Merion with an even-par 70 that gave him a one-shot lead over Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel and Steve Stricker going into the last round.

It’s the first time Mickelson has held the outright lead through 54 holes in the U.S. Open, and the timing could be right.

Mickelson celebrates his 43rd birthday Sunday — on Father’s Day, no less. He left Merion on Monday and didn’t return until three hours before his tee time on Thursday so he could attend the eighth-grade graduation of his oldest daughter.

“It’s got the makings to be something special,” Mickelson said. “But I still have to go out and perform, and play some of my best golf.”

Mickelson, who already has a record five silver medals for being runner-up at this demanding major, was at 1-under 209.

And the fun is just getting started.

“It’s a hard challenge, but it’s a lot of fun,” Mickelson said. “Every shot requires such great focus because a penalty can bite you quickly. I can’t wait to get back and playing. I feel good ball-striking, I feel good on the greens. I think it’s going to take an under-par round tomorrow.”

The final hour might have been a sneak preview for today. At one point, there were five players under par, and suddenly there was only Mickelson.

Luke Donald had the outright lead until two bad swings on the last two holes — a 2-iron into the bunker on the 17th that led to bogey, and another 2-iron into ankle-deep rough well right of the 18th green that led to a double bogey. Just like that, one of the best rounds of the day turned into a 71, and he was two shots behind.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Luke Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Luke Donald believes he’s got the right game on the right course — and is ready to make up for so many near-misses at the RBC Heritage. Donald had an eagle and six birdies to shoot 66 on Saturday and take a ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Nets’ experience trumps Raptors in Game 1

    TORONTO — The Brooklyn Nets made a case for the important of playoff experience in their opening victory over the Toronto Raptors....

    April 20, 2014

  • Heat open quest for another title

    MIAMI — If the Miami Heat are going to watch their season and reign atop the NBA end at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats, then fates of the franchises will have to change in a hurry....

    April 20, 2014

  • Warriors beat Clippers, 109-105, in playoff opener

    LOS ANGELES — Klay Thompson scored 22 points, David Lee added 20 and the Golden State Warriors got Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in foul trouble to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on Saturday in their playoff opener....

    April 20, 2014

  • Cardinals edge Nationals, 4-3

    WASHINGTON — Lance Lynn was sharper than he had had been all season, which made it all the more frustrating for him when he failed to make it out of the sixth inning....

    April 20, 2014

  • Teague leads Hawks past top-seeded Pacers in Game 1

    INDIANAPOLIS — Atlanta’s Jeff Teague demolished the Pacers’ grand playoff plan. As his teammates set up around the 3-point line, Teague simply blew through open lanes to the basket repeatedly. The Pacers didn’t have an answer....

    April 20, 2014

  • Stars limp home down 2-1

    DALLAS — Tyler Seguin’s week away from Dallas felt a little longer, probably because it included a pair of one-goal losses at Anaheim to start a first-round playoff series....

    April 20, 2014

  • Sooners advance to Super Six

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Oklahoma, Georgia and LSU advanced to the Super Six of the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships....

    April 19, 2014

  • Can the Heat flip the switch?

    MIAMI — LeBron James was walking down the hallway that the Miami Heat call “Championship Alley” a few minutes after last season’s NBA Finals, when he decided the time was right to send a message. It wasn’t for his fans....

    April 19, 2014

  • No April, May or June Madness in NBA

    AP National Writer ATLANTA — If the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks were in any other sport, they might have a glimmer of hope for winning a championship. The NBA? No way....

    April 19, 2014