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Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Justin Rose missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, while Ireland's Paul Dunne remained well in touch with the leaders.
Dunne's one-under-par round of 71 on Friday leaves him on four-under overall, with Gary Woodland and K.J. Choi topping the leaderboard in San Diego on nine-under.
Rose missed the one-under cut by a solitary stroke, along with Paul Casey and world number four Rickie Fowler, while defending champion and world number two Day was three away from ensuring weekend play.
The Australian had been suffering from illness in the lead up to the event.
Mickelson had looked set to bank a place in the third and fourth rounds but finished with three straight bogeys to miss out by two strokes.
With the players alternating between the North and South courses at Torrey Pines, the five-time major winner was tackling the former, regarded as significantly easier.
However, a disastrous finish completed the 45-year-old's challenge in his native city.
“I don’t have a good explanation,” Mickelson said. “I had a good round going and had some birdie holes coming up.
"It just kind of slipped. I wasn’t really mentally as sharp as I need to be.
"I think I tried to force the issue a little bit, but that stuff happens."
By David Maher