US Open: Phil Mickelson relishing the challenge of leading at Merion

Last Updated: 16/06/13 9:12am

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Phil Mickelson is looking forward to a "fun" final day of the US Open after battling back from a poor start to his third round.

The left-hander has not carried a driver in his bag at Merion in a bid to improve his accuracy off the tee, but he hit only three of his first eight fairways and relinquished his lead with bogeys at the third and fifth.

But avoiding the rough paid dividends with well-crafted birdies at 10 and 11, and he got to two under after following up a stunning tee-shot to the 253-yard par-three 17th with a solid putt.

He failed to get up and down from a tricky lie at the last after his approach ran off the green, but he remains on course to lift his first national title after five runner-up finishes.

"It's going to be a fun day on Sunday," he said after signing for a level-par 70. "I'm looking forward to it and the challenge of Merion. I love being in the thick of it.

"It's got the makings to be something special. But I still have to go out and perform, and play some of my best golf.

"It's a hard challenge, but it's a lot of fun. Every shot requires such great focus because a penalty can bite you quickly.

"I can't wait to get back and playing. I feel good ball-striking, I feel good on the greens. I think it's going to take an under-par round to win.

"I have had opportunities to win and it's been fun even though it has been heartbreaking to let it slide, but I feel better equipped than ever and I feel very comfortable on this course.

"Given that I have had some major successes I feel as equipped as I could be.

"I don't think I feel any more pressure than anyone else who wants to win. But it would certainly mean a lot to me."

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