As you read this early Saturday morning players are finishing up their second rounds at Merion Golf Cub. Sixty-eight golfers had Friday leftover holes to play before the cut could be made atthe top 60 plus ties.
Only then can we move on to moving day at the 113th U.S. Open.
Billy Horschel and Phil Mickelson have completed two rounds and left the course Friday tied for the lead at one-under-par 139. Five other players are one shot back at even par.
It was important, as the sun set Friday, that the group of Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Keegan Bradley was able to complete their second round before the darkness siren sounded.
Little things like this can have an impact on the eventual winner.
In a week where the USGA is promoting fast play, well, you’ve never seen some players move so fast. Had the Mickelson group not teed off on 18 before the horn, it would have had to return early Saturday morning to complete the hole.
Rules state, though, that you can complete a hole if one player in the group hits a tee shot.
The Mickelson group was playing behind Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Nicolas Colsaerts, which had been put on the clock for slow play earlier in the round.
Mickelson told Dustin Johnson and his caddie they might need to tee off while Johnson’s group was still in the 18th fairway. Bradley was rushed up ahead to do the honors.
“So they moved to one side,” Mickelson said of Johnson, Watson and Colsaerts. “Keegan hit, and that means the rest of the group can finish. It worked out we were fine time-wise, but it’s nice when guys like that help you out.”
Mickelson made his only birdie of the day at the 18th, rolling in a 21-foot putt to seize a share of the lead.
Stricker scratched out a par on No. 18 to stay at even for the tournament. Bradley is 12 over and will miss the cut, but he did his part.
Mickelson and Stricker got to sleep in Saturday and will be well rested when they tee off for this afternoon’s third round.
“It’s a big break for us to finish and get that extra rest,” Stricker said, “because it’s two long days and you need all the rest you can get.”