Matt Jones and Marc Leishman have hung tough as Australia's hopes of US Open glory took a major hit during the second round at Torrey Pines.
Jones ground out an even-par 71 to be one over for the championship and six shots behind second round leaders Richard Bland (67) and American Russell Henley (71).
Leishman was one behind Jones after bouncing back from a disappointing finish to his first round with a one-under 70 on day two.
Adam Scott was filthy after letting his winning hopes slip with a horror second-round 75. Playing in his 20th consecutive Open, Scott had equalled his best-ever start at the tournament with a birdie-birdie finish on Thursday, only to rack up two double bogeys in falling eight shots behind the leaders.
"I played terrible," Scott said, despite also having four birdies.
"The course is great. It's set up really nicely, kind of friendly at the moment.
"It didn't really dry out yet so there are good scores as we're seeing on the board."
South Australia’s Wade Ormsby was facing an anxious wait to see if he'd have a weekend tee time following a second-round 74, which left him sitting on the projected cut line at four over par. His afternoon in front of the television broadcast ended with smiles and he will head into the third round nine strokes from the lead.
Australia’s No.1 ranked Cameron Smith carded a 75 and had every right to feel annoyed after missing the halfway cut in painful fashion.
Smith made five birdies, including three on his back nine to fight back into contention, only to triple-bogey his third-last hole to undo all his good work.
The 2020 Masters runner-up also had a triple-bogey seven and a double-bogey six in consecutive holes on his front nine but appeared to have fought his way back before disaster struck late.
"There was lots of good and just a few bad holes in there. It was pretty disappointing, actually," Smith said.
"The course is great. It's set up good. If you hit it good you can make plenty of birdies.
"If you make mistakes, you're working hard out there."
Monday qualifier Steve Allan was second last in the 156-man field after following up a first-round 80 with a 79 to be 17 over par for the championship.