The U.S. Open is in full swing, and despite a whirlwind of off-the-course commitments, Phil Mickelson is at the top of the leaderboard, as he is three-under through the first round at Merion Golf Club.
While Phil’s story would make for an amazing Father’s Day weekend, there are many big-name golfers who are one good round from being in striking distance of the leading lefty.
Here is a look at some big names who are an impressive second round away from U.S. Open contention.
Fan favorite and orange-clad Rickie Fowler will need to have a solid round if he hopes to be wearing that patented orange late on Sunday.
Fowler, who finds himself at even par, may be making headlines for his rain-delay shenanigans, but his play in the first round has found him in contention for a run at his first major championship.
Fowler was the No. 1 amateur golfer in the world in 2007 and 2008, and he even beat out Rory McIlroy for the PGA Rookie of the Year in 2010.
He also has the benefit of experience that many of his competitors don’t possess, as he is familiar with the course after playing there in the 2009 Walker Cup.
Fowler himself is looking forward to getting back on the course to attempt to win his first major championship.
“Thursday, you can't exactly win it, but you can definitely take yourself out of it," Fowler said. "So I feel like I'm in a good position, swinging well. Nice to finally see a few putts go in. So excited for the next round, whenever we get to play."
While Fowler’s highest major finish is a tie for fifth place at The 2011 Open Championship, look for him to have another solid round and remain in contention.
Fowler’s photo-bomb partner and 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson also finds himself in contention for his first U.S. Open win.
Watson finds himself at a respectable +1, four strokes back of the leader Mickelson. A solid second round will put Watson in a good position heading into the weekend.
While Watson has the experience of being a major winner, he is making sure not to let the course get the best of him.
“Well, there’s a couple of guys under par,” said Watson. “By the end of the week Merion is going to win.”
If Watson can go on a little run in the second round, he can give himself a chance at a second major.
What fun would a major be without Tiger?
While Tiger finds himself six strokes back, a hot Tiger is never out of a tournament. If Tiger gets himself into the zone, he is virtually unbeatable.
However, lackluster putting and an apparent arm injury threaten to derail Tiger’s hopes of claiming a 15th major championship.
Does Tiger have one more magical U.S. Open run in him, like the unforgettable 2008 tournament? Will Tiger even make the cut, which is currently projected to be +4?
If the world’s No. 1 golfer hopes to make a run, he will need to have a big second round. Look for Tiger to try and play through the pain as he chases Jack Nicklaus’ major record.
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