Virtual unknown Michael Thompson, a 27 year old in his first year on the PGA Tour, holds a three stroke lead over Tiger Woods atop the leaderboard at the US Open.

Thompson was an accomplished amateur golfer, as well as prolific college player, but for many golf fans today was the first day they had ever heard his name. So who is the man who has emerged from the shadows to lead the best golfers in the world?

Thompson, who was born in Tuscon, Arizona, played collegiate golf at Tulane University in 2004 and 2005 before transferring to the University of Alabama when Tulane's team disbanded after Hurricane Katrina.

He played his first professional tournament in 2008 at the Masters. He finished with a score of +7 and did not make the cut.

Thompson spent 2009 and 2010 on lower tours before finally getting his PGA Tour card in 2011.

His best finish to date was his third place finish at the 2011 McGladrey Classic. This year he placed sixth at the Sony Open, but hasn't placed in the top 10 since.

Thompson, who is ranked 107th in the world, missed the cut in five of the fifteen tournaments he has started in the 2012 season, but it looks as though that is not a worry for him this weekend.

This is Thompson's second attempt to play in the US Open. He teed it up at the event in 2008 at Torrey Pines, finishing tied for 29.

Thompson struggled with the first six holes at Olympic on Thursday, carding a +2 over those holes, but birdies at 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, and 18 pushed him three strokes ahead of the field.

The list of players who led majors on Thursday, only to be nowhere near the lead on Sunday is a long one, but Thompson has given the unknowns of the PGA tour a reason to believe.