Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mickelson, Horschel have clubhouse lead at U.S. Open

ARDMORE, Pa. — Phil Mickel­son made his first birdie on his last putt. Billy Horschel never missed a green. It was all they could do to barely break par against Merion, which is turning out to be the real star of this U.S. Open.

Nearly half the field did not finish the second round when it was suspended because of darkness Friday. Moments after the horn sounded to stop play, Mickelson opted to finish his round and drilled a 20-foot birdie putt for 2-over 72. That gave him a share of the clubhouse lead with Horschel, a former Gator who made it as easy as possible by hitting every green in regulation for 67.

They were at 1-under 139.

The 68 players who failed to complete the round were scheduled to resume beginning at 7:15 this morning.

Even with the round not finished, it was becoming clear this Open might be up for grabs until the very end.

Tiger Woods, who grimaced with every shot out of the rough because of pain in his left elbow, was at 3-over 143 and still very much in the game. So was Rory McIlroy with the same score.

"I don't know how anyone is going to separate too far from the field," Mickelson said. "There might be a hot round (today), and they might get a hot round on Sunday, but unlikely to be the same player."

No one was hotter than Horschel, 26 and playing in his first Open since he was a 19-year-old in college at Florida.

Horschel hit all 18 greens in regulation, a stellar achievement at a regular tour event, let alone the U.S. Open. It sent U.S. Golf Association officials searching for hours to find the last time anyone failed to miss a green in the toughest test in golf.

Records of that detail go back only to 1989. The last documentation of someone doing that was Johnny Miller when he closed with 63 at Oakmont to win in 1973.

"I didn't know I hit every green until I walked off 18," said Horschel, who won his first tour event in April at the Zurich Classic. "It's a cool thing. But … it's not the first time I've hit all 18 greens. I've done it plenty of times in my career. Obviously, it's at a U.S. Open, but I think the softness of the greens helped that."

The long day, brought on by storm delays Thursday, began with cool conditions and patches of light rain that eventually gave way to sunshine. That led players to wonder how much tougher Merion will be once it starts to dry out.

Luke Donald (72), Justin Rose (69) and Steve Stricker (69) finished their rounds and were at par 140.

One of the day's surprises was amateur Cheng-Tsung Pan of Taiwan. Pan played nine holes at 2 under and was at par, along with Ian Poulter, 1 under for his round through 14 holes.

Pan, 21, is a junior at the University of Washington. He missed the cut in his other Open appearance, in 2011, saying he was too excited and had too many distractions. This time, he said, he embraced the pressure.

"I feel I belong to that kind of place," he said. "I'm not saying I'm good enough, but I love this kind of feeling, and the competition is great."

U.S. Open leaderboard

Golfer Par Thru

Phil Mickelson-1F

Billy Horschel-1F

Luke DonaldEF

Steve StrickerEF

Justin RoseEF

Ian PoulterE14

Cheng-Tsung Pan (a)E9

Notables

Rory McIlroy+3F

Tiger Woods+3F

Ernie Els+3F

Bubba Watson+7F

Note: Second round suspended due to darkness

(a) — amateur

TV Today: noon, Ch. 8

Weather: High 83, sunny

Mickelson, Horschel have clubhouse lead at U.S. Open 06/14/13 [Last modified: Saturday, June 15, 2013 12:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The Lightning's 2017-18 road jersey
  2. For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves

    Blogs

    We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

    Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.
  3. Jameis Winston stats: How the Bucs QB performed under pressure

    Bucs

    Every quarterback's performance declines when he faces pressure from the defense.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston faced pressure on more than 30 percent of his pass plays last season. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Could Lightning deal for a defenseman today?

    Blogs

    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has been trying to further bolster his blueline, and he may have a chance to acquire one by tonight's first round of the NHL Draft.

    The Lightning is reportedly in on Travis Hamonic (Islanders), though New York is rumored to be asking for two-first round picks.
  5. SI ranks Quinton Flowers on top 100, above Deondre Francois

    Blogs

    Sports Illustrated's ongoing countdown of the top 100 players in college football includes some high praise for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.