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UNIVERSITY PLACE, Washington (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed were preparing for the U.S. Open spotlight on Saturday while Jason Day was back at Chambers Bay, tackling the links-style layout a day after collapsing on his final hole.
Spieth and Reed, two of golf's most exciting young talents carried a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson and Branden Grace into the third round as they set the stage for an enthralling duel between the Ryder Cup team mates on a brilliant sunny day in the Pacific Northwest.
While Masters champion Spieth and Reed were getting set to play, talk around Chambers Bay was still about the fright Day had sent through the galleries on Friday when the Australian suddenly collapsed on his final hole, suffering from vertigo.
After receiving medical attention Day was able to complete his round before dropping to knees again and being helped off the course and taken away for more treatment.
Sitting just three shots off the lead and in contention for a first major, the world number 10 displayed his grit on Saturday, stepping up and hammering a magnificent drive off the first tee to set up a solid par.
Despite ideal conditions none of the early starters were able to make a big move on a challenging layout that has come under increasing criticism.
World number one Rory McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open winner, began the morning nine back of the leaders and was quickly on the charge, dropping a 25-foot birdie putt at the second.
The Northern Irishman picked up another shot at the seventh but watched his rally run out of steam on the back nine with bogeys at 11 and 15 for an even par 70 to finish the day where he started at four-over.
Like McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, a six-time runnerup at his national championship, began the day well back. His attempt at a charge fizzled out of the gate with three straight bogeys from the second and two more at the seventh and ninth to send the left-hander diving down the leaderboard.
Heading into the turn at eight-over, Mickelson's bid for a career grand slam appeared to be on hold for yet another year.
Editing by Gene Cherry