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Sure, it’s only Thursday and the amateurs concede there’s too much golf ahead to start thinking about making the cut. But perhaps history could be on their side.

Only 21, amateur Jim Simons took a two-shot lead into the final day of the 1971 Open played at _ yes, Merion. Trying to become the first amateur to win the event since 1933, Simon faded to fifth. Lee Trevino would go on to beat Jack Nicklaus in a playoff. No amateur has led again on the final day.

Bobby Jones won the U.S. Amateur in 1930 at Merion, clinching his Grand Slam.

On Thursday, Michael Kim had three birdies and shot a 3-over 73 to join Pan and Phelan as the top-three amateurs. The 19-year-old Kim was more jittery playing practice rounds than approaching his first Open tee shot.

“I didn’t really feel too nervous out there, other than maybe a couple moments,” he said. “I just tried to have fun. Tried not to expect too much.”

Three of eight amateurs made the cut last year at Olympic Club and the best score for the tournament was Jordan Spieth at 7-over 287.

“The gap between amateur and pro, I think it’s getting smaller,” Pan said. “As an amateur, we’re getting more chances, more opportunities to compete in professional events. We learn from those.”