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U.S. Open, Saturday recap: Phil Mickelson leads by one with one round to play

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Phil Mickelson — AP

• Phil Mickelson got off to a slow start with two bogeys over his first five holes, but three birdies offset by a bogey on the 18th has him as the only man in red figures heading into the final round at Merion. Mickelson has finished second at the U.S. Open five times, but he is in the driver's seat this week to win this event for the first time and card his fifth major championship.

• Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker and Charl Schwartzel all sit a shot back of Mickelson heading into the final round, all posting solid third rounds considering the conditions and the golf course.

• This tournament is a lot of things, but one thing it won't be is a site of a major breakthrough for Tiger Woods. His third round 76 was as ugly as it sounds, tying his worst score ever at the U.S. Open as a pro and dropping him well down the leaderboard and without any realistic chance of snagging a 15th major championship. Rory McIlroy, playing with Tiger for the third straight day, beat Woods by a shot but it wasn't much better for the two-time major winner.

Rickie Fowler opened his U.S. Open bid with a solid round of 70, but a second round 76 left him well down the leaderboard. No worries, as Fowler shot a round of 3-under 67 to get back into contention thanks to four birdies and just one bogey on Saturday at Merion. Fowler sits alone in ninth place, four shots back of Mickelson heading into Sunday.

• Jason Day, the Australian who finished second at the 2011 U.S. Open, took advantage of a better scoring day at Merion, posting a third round 68 that included a back nine 32 that could have been a little better if not for a final hole bogey.

• Paul Lawrie and Lee Westwood both moved 28 spots on the leaderboard thanks to rounds of 1-under 69 on Saturday at Merion. They are both currently T-16, seven shots back of Mickelson.

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Hunter Mahan — Getty Images

It was an impressive round by Hunter Mahan, who got himself in contention at the U.S. Open, but it was his colorful outfit that was the main talking point from the third round.

Phil Mickelson hit an incredible 4-iron on the par-17th to 15-feet, but needed this putt to take the outright lead at the U.S. Open. He sank it, and heads into the final round with a one-shot lead over the field.

Tiger Woods had a really bad day on Saturday at Merion, but this short putt on the 16th hole might have been his poorest shot. That short putt lipped out, came back at him and pretty much summed up his week.

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Well, the final round, of course! Sunday marks the final round of the U.S. Open and with it we have so many story lines.

Phil Mickelson is searching for his first U.S. Open after five second place finishes in this tournament. Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan are trying to move their careers past just PGA Tour winner and into the major category, and there are plenty of other names that have a chance. What more can you ask for?

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