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U.S. Open 2013: Sunday could be a big day for Phil Mickelson

Mickelson has played in more U.S. Opens than anyone in the field (23), but has yet to win this event. However, the stars may be aligning for Phil.

U.S. Open 2013: Sunday could be a big day for Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson tees off on the fifth hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Friday, June 14, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Phil Mickelson tees off on the fifth hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Friday, June 14, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Not only is Sunday the final round of the U.S. Open here at Merion, but it is also Father's Day.

Phil Mickelson, currently tied for the lead after two rounds, will likely be in contention come Sunday. If that's the case, the narrative that has followed him all week - returning to California to see his daughter speak at her graduation before taking a red-eye back to Philadelphia on Thursday morning, just in time for his 7:44 tee time - could come full circle.

"She told me that it's fine: 'Stay, it's the U.S. Open, I know how much you care about it,'" Mickelson said after posting a 3-under 67 on Thursday. "And I told her that I want to be there. I don't want to miss that. I don't want to miss her speech. I don't want to miss her graduation. She spent 9 years at that school. And she's worked very hard and she's - I'm very proud of her."

Sometimes he makes it just so easy to like him...

Mickelson has played in more U.S. Opens than anyone in the field (23), but has yet to win this event. However, the stars may be aligning for Phil.

Already a fan favorite here in Ardmore, Mickelson will be celebrating his 43rd birthday on Sunday, along with Father's Day. Perhaps, he could make it a hat trick and be celebrating a U.S. Open title as well.

A win here will put Mickelson just a British Open away from completing the career grand slam, something only accomplished by Bobby Jones (pre-Masters era), Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.

Not bad company, especially when you consider that there are only 10 players that have completed three out of four legs of the career grand slam - Walter Hagen, Jim Barnes, Lee Trevino, Tommy Armour, Sam Snead, Harold Hilton, Byron Nelson, Raymond Floyd, Tom Watson, and Arnold Palmer.

So there's just a little history on the line here, and you can count on the fans to be swarming around his group all weekend.

Wonder if we'll hear "Happy Birthday" from the Merion crowd on Sunday?

I'd put money on it.


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Matt Mullin Sports Editor
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