US Open golf: Mickelson and Horschel share clubhouse leadJune, 2013
20 players lie within four shots of the lead at the halfway stage of the 2013 US Open
Americans Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel lead the US Open on one-under-par after a difficult second day at Merion.
42-year-old Mickelson endured a disappointing round with the putter, but made a brilliant birdie on the 18th to cling on at the top of the leaderboard.
He had previously missed makeable birdie chances at 8, 9 and 11.
“I felt like I had many opportunities today,” said Mickelson. “To let a couple go on the greens is not consistent with the way I’ve been playing or the way I’ve been putting.”
It was a different story for Billy Horschel, who made four birdies and just one bogey on his way to emulating Mickelson’s opening round of 67.
The 26-year-old also became the first man in recorded US Open history to hit all 18 greens in regulation.
Horschel’s round was the stand-out effort of the day as the improved weather and slicker greens saw scoring return to something resembling the US Open norm.
This is why, despite an underwhelming round of 72, overnight leader Luke Donald will be happy to find himself at even-par heading into the weekend.
Horschel’s round was the stand-out effort of the day as the improved weather and slicker greens saw scoring return to something resembling the US Open norm. The Englishman had slipped back to two-under by the end of his first round and looked to be fading fast after bogeying four straight holes on the front nine.
But birdies at 9, 12 and 13 steadied the ship and helped him finish just one shot behind the leaders.
“It’s hard to make a lot of birdies so I’m happy to have made my share over the last two days,” said Donald. “Anything around par is pretty good and US Opens don’t tend to get easier as the week goes on – it’s a grind out there.”
Fellow Englishmen Justin Rose and Ian Poulter also lie one shot back at level-par.
While they were tied for 29th when they entered the clubhouse at the end of their rounds, both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy find themselves nicely poised at three-over.
Woods, apparently untroubled by the wrist injury he picked up during the first round, carded three birdies and three bogeys, while McIlroy ended his round with four birdies and four bogeys.
“I played well,” said McIlroy. “It’s a course where you feel like you can shoot a score, but it’s tricky and it’s tough.
“I still think something very low under-par will win the thing this week.”
The rest of the second round will be completed this morning.
T1 Billy Horschel -1
T1 Phil Mickelson -1
T3 Luke Donald E
T3 Steve Stricker E
T3 Justin Rose E
T3 Ian Poulter E through 14
T3 Cheng-Tsung Pan E through 9
T8 John Senden +1