U.S. Open 2018 live blog: Phil Mickelson, Andrew “Beef” Johnston highlight early-round pairings at Shinnecock

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — While the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day failed to make the cut, the weekend still promises to be an exciting spectacle at Shinnecock Hills. The weather is perfect Saturday, and the New York crowds are out in full force, none bigger than the horde following the early third-round pairing of Phil Mickelson and Andrew “Beef” Johnston. The over/under for thumbs up from the duo is set at 500.

But the real main event, Dustin Johnson, will not tee off until 3:10 p.m. ET, as he looks to build on his commanding four-shot lead. But as we know, especially this week at Shinnecock, that gap can be closed very quickly with one bad hole and some good play from his pursuers. Scott Piercy and Charley Hoffman, both at even par overall, can certainly chase him down, but it’s the names that lurk that will be particularly intriguing to watch. The duo of Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, each in search of their second major title, are at at one over, and will tee off together at 2:48 p.m. and attempt to apply some pressure to Johnson.

Others chasing include Tommy Fleetwood (+1), defending champion Brooks Koepka (+1), Ian Poulter (+1) and Rickie Fowler (+2). Keep it right here for all the important updates from Saturday at Shinnecock.

12:24 p.m.: After making pars on his first three holes, Phil Mickelson makes his first birdie of the day at the 481-yard par-4 fourth to move into the top 30 at +5 overall. He’s got work to do, but with the N.Y. faithful behind him, and wishing him a happy birthday every step of the way (Lefty turned 48 today), perhaps he can build some momentum and get himself back in the championship heading into Sunday.

The best round on the course belongs to Daniel Berger, who posted a three-under 32 on his opening nine without a bogey. He’s now tied for 14th at +4.

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