ARDMORE, Pa. -- Phil Mickelson awoke on Father Day's in a place he's never been - having the lead to himself after 54 holes at a U.S. Open.

It also happened to be his 43rd birthday.

And just in case he forgot, fans serenaded him with a chorus of "Happy Birthday" when Mickelson showed up at the practice range before his afternoon tee time.

The U.S. Open inched its way toward history Sunday on the take-your-time course at Merion Golf Club, where high rough and hard greens have made for slow rounds, and the threat of rain made a Monday finish a realistic scenario - even without a playoff.

There was Mickelson, hoping to finally win the championship after finishing runner-up a record five times. There was Steve Stricker, trying to win his first major. Both are famously proud papas: Mickelson flew cross-country on the eve of the tournament after watching his daughter graduate from eighth grade, and Stricker has been playing less on the PGA Tour to spend more time with his family.

There was Hunter Mahan, who is not quite a dad. On a day when seemingly every golfer was talking about the special day on Twitter, Mahan chimed in with: "Happy Fathers Day to everyone! A couple months before I get to join the club!"

Also in the mix were Luke Donald and Justin Rose, each hoping to become the first Englishman to win the trophy since Tony Jacklin in 1970.

And don't forget Billy Horschel. He wouldn't let you if you tried. He tweeted a photo of himself wearing what he called his "highly anticipated" and "highly controversial" octopus-print golf pants.

Mickelson's score was 1-under after the third round, one ahead of Mahan, Stricker and Schwartzel and two ahead of Donald, Rose and Horschel. All were taking aim at the red wicker baskets that sit atop the pins at Merion, all trying to follow Olin Dutra, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino and David Graham as U.S. Open champions who conquered the tough little course in the Philadelphia suburbs.

While the leaders were waiting to tee off, Tiger Woods went through the motions of extending his majors drought into a sixth year. It was an unfamiliar sight to see the world's No. 1 golfer teeing off on a Sunday more than three hours before the top pairing, but he was 10 strokes off the lead after a third-round 76 that matched his worst U.S. Open round as a pro.

Woods wore his usual Sunday red shirt, but it didn't keep him from quickly achieving a dubious double - out of bounds and a 3-putt on the same hole. That made for a triple-bogey 8 at No. 2.

Sunday was five years to the day since Woods won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. His running tally of majors wins is stuck on 14, four shy of Jack Nicklaus' record.

Hopes for a Grand Slam were also being officially dashed. Masters champion Adam Scott began the day 11 strokes behind Mickelson and made three bogeys on the front nine.

Meanwhile, Shawn Stefani found a unique way to solve Merion: Hit the ball in the rough and get a hole-in-one. His 4-iron at the 213-yard, par-3 17th landed left of the green, bounced down the slope and meandered its way some 50 feet slowly across the green and into the hole.

Stefani nearly jumped out of his skin. Then he kissed the spot where the ball landed.

"We're in Philly," he said. "There's some great fans up here, and I know they can be tough on you and they can love you forever. So I'm sure they appreciated me going to the ground and kissing it."

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Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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  • Phil Mickelson reacts after hitting an eagle on the 10th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Tiger Woods walks up the 18th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • Tiger Woods reacts after putting on the eighth green during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Billy Horschel reacts to his tee shot on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Tiger Woods hits down the 18th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Phil Mickelson hits out of a bunker on the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Luke Donald, of England, hits from behind a tree on the third hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Luke Donald, right, of England, watches as a police officer checks on a course worker who was hit with Donald's errant shot on the third hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Tiger Woods tees off on the 18th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Luke Donald, of England, fourth from right, checks on a course worker who was hit by his errant shot on the third hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Hunter Mahan reacts after a putt on the first hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Billy Horschel putts on the third hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Luke Donald, of England, reacts after putting on the second green during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Bio Kim, of Korea, reacts after a missed putt on the 17th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • Phil Mickelson tees off on the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Charl Schwartzel, of South Africa, reacts after a birdie on the first hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Tiger Woods reacts after putting on the 15th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Tiger Woods reacts after putting on the eighth green during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Tiger Woods reacts to a missed putt on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Jason Day, of Australia, reacts to a missed putt on the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, of Spain, tees off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Billy Horschel watches a putt on the second green during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, hits down the 15th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Luke Donald, of England, reacts to a missed putt on the first hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Michael Kim hits down the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rickie Fowler chips onto the second green during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Tiger Woods, center, putts on the 11th hole as Matt Bettencourt loos on during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Matt Bettencourt, left, reacts after a missed putt on the 14th hole as Tiger Woods looks on during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Ian Poulter, of England, tees off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, of Spain, lines up a putt on the second green during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rickie Fowler reacts to a putt on the first hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Michael Kim reacts to a missed putt on the first hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Ian Poulter, of England, hits down the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Nicolas Colsaerts, of Belgium, hits down the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • David Lingmerth, of Sweden, walks from the fourth tee box after teeing off during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Paul Lawrie, of Scotland, tees off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Lee Westwood, of England, tees off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Tiger Woods hits onto the 10th green during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, of Spain, reacts after a putt on the first hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Tiger Woods climbs up to the 10th tee box during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Paul Casey, of England, reacts to a missed putt on the third hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • John Senden, of Australia, hits out of a bunker on the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • David Lingmerth, of Sweden, reacts after a putt on the second green during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Ian Poulter, of England, hits out of a bunker on the first hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Lee Westwood, of England, chips onto the third green during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Paul Casey, of England, hits down the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Paul Lawrie, of Scotland, hits down the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Edward Loar tees off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Charley Hoffman reacts to a missed putt on the second hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Tiger Woods, right, and caddie Joe LaCava walk to the 10th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Shawn Stefani acknowledges the gallery after hitting a hole in one on the 17th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)