Horschel, Mickelson share lead

Horschel, Mickelson share lead

Woods, McIlroy stay in hunt with matching 70s

Horschel, Mickelson share lead

Phil Mickelson and fellow American Billy Horschel retained their one-stroke lead at the US Open following Saturday morning’s conclusion of the suspended second round of the championship at Merion.

Four-times major winner Mickelson and 26-year-old Horschel, who won the Zurich Classic in April for his first PGA win, finished their second rounds on Friday and were tied at one-under 139 heading to the third round on a warm, sunny day in the leafy Philadelphia suburb.

One stroke back at level-par 140 were former World No 1 Luke Donald of England, who shot a second-round 72, compatriot Justin Rose (69) and American Steve Stricker (69), who all registered their rounds on Friday.

Donald was joining Mickelson and Horschel in the final third-round grouping as the 73 players to make the cut, set at eight-over-par, were going off in threesomes from the first and 11th holes.

Lurking well within range on three-over 143 were Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, who will playing their third successive round together, joined by Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain.

Sixty-eight players returned at 7:15 am (1645 IST) to complete their rounds, suspended by failing light as the tournament continued to be backed up after losing more than four hours on Thursday’s opening day due to lightning and downpours.

Many contending players lost ground in Saturday’s resumption as lively breezes blew across the classic layout, although 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa and five-time PGA Tour winner Hunter Mahan improved their position.

Schwartzel emulated Mickelson and Horschel with a birdie at the difficult par-four 18th, playing at 501 yards, to complete a 71 and move up to one-over 141 for the tournament.
Englishman Ian Poulter, who had stood level par with four holes to play, bogeyed the par-four 16th Quarry Hole and the daunting par-four last for a 71 to slip to two over par.

Amateurs Pan Cheng-tsung of Taiwan and South Korea-born Michael Kim, both surprisingly in the top 10 when second-round play was suspended, also moved in the wrong direction on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Pan plunged from even par to four-over 144 in completing his last nine holes for 72 on Saturday, while the 19-year-old Kim lost two strokes to par over his final seven holes to dip to three-over-par 143.

Leading scores (after 36 holes, US unless mentioned): 139: Billy Horschel (72, 67), Phil Mickelson (67, 72); 140: Luke Donald (Gbr, 68, 72), Steve Stricker (71, 69), Justin Rose (Gbr, 71, 69); 141: John Senden (Aus, 70, 71), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel, 69, 72), Charl Schwartzel (SA, 70, 71), Hunter Mahan (72, 69); 142: Mathew Goggin (Aus, 68, 74), Ian Poulter (Gbr, 71, 71), Henrik Stenson (Swe, 74, 68); 143: Rory McIlroy (Gbr, 73, 70), Tiger Woods (73, 70), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp, 71, 72), Ernie Els (SA, 71, 72), Matt Bettencourt (72, 71), Jerry Kelly (70, 73), Michael Kim (73, 70).