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Phil Mickelson Clings to Narrow U.S. Open Lead; Lefty Bound To Choke

The narrative surrounding Phil Mickelson‘s trip to the 2013 U.S. Open is admirable to say the least. With his eighth-grade daughter graduating middle school the same week of the famous tournament, “Lefty” wanted to make sure he was home to see his daughter Amanda give a highly-anticipated speech to her class.

While many predicted the inconvenience would hinder his preparation and therefore his play, Mickelson has proved the doubters wrong thus far with a course-leading -1 after 54 holes. Despite countless blunders in major tournaments — the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where Mickelson choked up a lead and literally hit his ball into a garbage can — fans still flock to the 43 year old.

Even still, the field at the Merion Golf Course isn’t particularly swinging the snot out of the ball considering that after three rounds Lefty is the only golfer under par. With Sunday upon us, it’s important to take a look at Mickelson’s recent habits when it comes to the Open. Oddly enough, the savvy veteran has struggled later in the tourney as Mickelson has been the runner up at the U.S Open a record five times.

Hopefully Lefty’s highly-publicized birthday can bring him a different fortune because a statistic like the one above has to nag at one of the world’s most polarizing golfer.

Mickelson’s biggest competition will not be the No. 1 or the No. 2 golfers in the world, as both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have been surprisingly off-kilter with +8 and +9 scores, respectively. Instead, Lefty’s rear-view mirror is comprised of Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker while Luke Donald‘s name is being thrown around as a favorite to reel in the 2013 hardware.

Either way, Mickelson is going to be the talk of the town after the tournament as his obvious inability to finish at the  U.S. Open will either remain true or be trumped for good.