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Stricker one shot behind Mickelson heading into final round of US Open

ARDMORE, PA (Sports Network) - Phil Mickelson remained atop the leaderboard after a crazy ending to Saturday's third round at the U.S. Open Championship.

Mickelson birdied the long par-3 17th, but gave that shot back at the last as his par putt stopped a roll or two short of the hole. He carded an even-par 70 in round three on the East Course at Merion Golf Club to finish 54 holes of the year's second major at 1-under-par 209.

"I love being in the thick of it. I've had opportunities in years past, and it has been so fun, even though it's been heartbreaking to come so close a number of times and let it slide," said Mickelson, who is a five-time U.S. Open runner-up. "But I feel better equipped than I have ever felt heading into the final round of a U.S. Open. My ball striking is better than it has ever been. My putting is better than it has been in years, and I feel very comfortable on this golf course. I love it."

The left-hander had fallen out of the lead, but his even-par closing was enough to keep him atop the leaderboard.

Hunter Mahan and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel both bogeyed the final two holes. They both shot 1-under 69 to end alongside Steve Stricker (70) in second place at even-par 210.

Luke Donald coughed up three shots in the final two holes en route to a 71. He ended 54 holes at 1-over 211, and he was joined there by Justin Rose (71) and second-round co-leader Billy Horschel (72).