You Oughta Know: Phil chasing elusive Open title


ARDMORE, Pa. – After a crazy three days here at the U.S. Open we’re back on schedule, ready for an intriguing final round at Merion. Phil Mickelson holds a one-shot advantage over three players, and is looking for his first U.S. Open victory after recording five runner-up finishes. Here are some things You Oughta Know about the U.S. Open with 18 holes remaining:

• The third-round leader or co-leader has gone on to win the U.S. Open 49 times.

• The third-round leader or co-leader has won 11 of 22 stroke-play events this year on the PGA Tour. Matt Kuchar was the most recent to do it two weeks ago at the Memorial.

• Sunday will be Mickelson’s 43rd birthday and this is his 478th PGA Tour start – his 460th as a pro.

• Mickelson is three of four when holding the lead into the final round of a major. He won the 2004 and 2006 Masters and the 2005 PGA Championship. He failed to win the 2006 U.S. Open.

• Mickelson has finished second or tied for second five times in the U.S. Open – 1999 (Pinehurst), 2002 (Bethpage), 2004 (Shinnecock Hills), 2006 (Winged Foot) and 2009 (Bethpage). In those five events Mickelson has earned $2,691,079.

• Mickelson is tied for 15th in fairways hit, tied for sixth in greens in regulation and tied for 29th in putting.

Charl Schwartzel, one shot behind Mickelson, would become the 29th international winner of the U.S. Open. He would join South African winners Gary Player (1965), Ernie Els (1994, 1997) and Retief Goosen (2001, 2004).

Steve Stricker, also a shot behind Mickelson, is 46 years old. If he wins he’d supplant Hale Irwin as the oldest U.S. Open winner in history. Irwin was 45 when he won his third U.S. Open in 1990.

Luke Donald is two shots behind Mickelson, tied for fifth. If he wins he’d become the first Englishman to win the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970.

• Through three rounds the 521-yard, par-4 18th hole has been the most difficult, playing to an average of 4.711 strokes. If the leader stands on the 18th tee Sunday needing par to win the U.S. Open, it’ll be a tall task.

• The largest come-from-behind victory at the U.S. Open belongs to Arnold Palmer, who was seven shots off the lead in 1960 at Cherry Hills.

Tiger Woods shot a third-round 76. He’s now failed to break 70 over the weekend of any major since the 2012 Masters.

• George Burns led David Graham by three shots heading into the final round of the 1981 U.S. Open here at Merion. Burns shot 73, but Graham shot 67 to win by three shots.