Paul Casey admitted taking on Merion has been "a little tortuous" after firing a creditable third-round 71 at the US Open.
The Englishman, who has slumped to 168th in the world rankings after a lean couple of years, earned his place in the field via qualifying at Walton Heath last month.
Casey made the cut comfortably on five over, and he mixed four bogeys with three birdies in the third round and will head into the final day inside the top 20.
He also insisted he had enjoyed the challenge provided by the East Course, and he scoffed at pre-tournament predictions of low scoring from the likes of former New Zealand professional Frank Nobilo, now a TV commentator.
"It was cracking all the guys up at the beginning of the week, guys like Frank Nobilo saying it's going to be 62s or 63s around here," Casey said.
"And we didn't know which golf course he was talking about, because we knew this was going to be a brutal test.
"I love the fact that this is a short golf course and it's making my hair go grey, that's all I know. Golf courses don't have to be long to be difficult. This is a wonderful example of that.
"It's a little torturous, but I enjoy the challenge and I think the rest of the guys do.
"I think the fans appreciate how difficult this is, as well. They get an idea of how difficult this place is. It's a thrill to play a golf course like this."