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McIlroy preparing for early exit
Defending champion Rory McIlroy and world number one Luke Donald packed their bags and prepared to say goodbye to the US Open in San Francisco on Friday.
The defending champion's shoulders sank when he missed a 15-foot birdie chance on the final green of his second round - and then he missed the tiddler coming back. The bogey four meant a three over par 73 to add to his opening 77 and at 10 over he was resigned to making his fourth early exit from his last five tournaments.
World number one Luke Donald was on his way out too, a 72 leaving him 11 over and still waiting for his first major title.
There was disappointment of a different sort for McIlroy's compatriot and predecessor as champion Graeme McDowell.
Birdies at the 15th and 16th - his seventh and eighth holes of the day - lifted McDowell into second place on his own at two under par.
However, McDowell then bogeyed three of his last four holes and with a 72 slipped back to one over and joint ninth. He was still right in contention, however, as most of those ahead of him were still out on the course and finding life just as hard.
They included little-known American Michael Thompson, three clear overnight following a sparkling 66, and after a double bogey and two bogeys in his first six holes he was back down to one under.
That was still good enough for a share of the lead with 2003 winner Jim Furyk, who, playing with McDowell, shot a fine 69, and 17-year-old American amateur Beau Hossler, like Thompson a qualifier.
Tiger Woods was alongside them after a five-foot birdie at the short third, but he could not get up and down from sand at the fifth and had a terrible break at the next. The 14-major champion liked the look of his approach, but it finished in thick rough just above a bunker and it was no wonder he dropped another shot from there.
Lee Westwood was playing with McIlroy and Donald and he shot 72 to be five over, the same as Ian Poulter (75), while Justin Rose was one better after he too shot 75.