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Phil Mickelson needed a special round on his 42nd birthday to retain hope of being a US Open contender - but it did not begin as he hoped.
The five-time runner-up had survived the halfway cut with only one shot to spare at seven over par, and when he bogeyed the 428-yard second he fell nine adrift of overnight leaders Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and David Toms.
Mickelson was both short and crooked off the tee, found a horrid lie in the rough and even with a fairway utility wood could not make the green 200 yards away.
His pitch then ran 15 feet past the hole and he could not salvage his par.
England's Simon Dyson also dropped a shot there - he was bunkered in two - and more bogeys swiftly followed at the third, fifth and sixth to leave him last-but-one on 12 over.
Just to be playing the weekend was no mean feat, though, since the Irish and Dutch Open champion had not played for a month because of a hip injury and feared he would miss the trip.
Compatriot Matthew Baldwin, who qualified at Walton Heath two weeks ago, also did well to make the cut in his first major, but it was a rough start to his third round as well.
The 26-year-old from Southport, a European Tour rookie, bogeyed the fifth and double-bogeyed the 489-yard next, but a birdie on the ninth lifted him back to 10 over.
Going best of the early third-round starters was Argentina's Angel Cabrera, who pushed Woods and Furyk into joint second place at Oakmont five years ago.
Cabrera birdied the fourth and fifth to climb from the cut line to six over and joint 42nd.
Mickelson birdied the 438-yard fourth, but dropped his second shot of the day on the sixth and remained eight over with seven to play.
Ian Poulter was only one ahead of him after failing to get up and down from left of the second green and then coming up short of the green at the third, although he walked off the tee there complaining about the approach being watered.
Lee Westwood was in the group behind and he resumed with two opening pars. He almost birdied the 520-yard par-four first from the fringe, but had been inches from rolling down the bank to the right - as he did in starting the week with a double bogey.
Baldwin shot 73 for 11 over, Dyson was alongside him with three holes to go and Scot Marc Warren - another in his first appearance at a major - double-bogeyed the first and after mixing two birdies with two bogeys in the next five holes stood seven over.