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U.S. Open Notes: Tiger Woods improves, but only by a little

Tiger Woods shoots 76 and doesn't come close to making the cut in his worst U.S. Open effort

Say this for Tiger Woods: He's battling his considerable golfing woes with a wry sense of humor.

"I wanted to shoot five or six today," he said at the conclusion of his second round in the U.S. Open. "But I wanted to be on the other side of it."

That would be the red side of par, which Woods didn't come close to achieving. Following his opening 80, he shot a six-over 76 at Chambers Bay on Friday to ensure that he would not be playing on the weekend for only the second time in 19 Open starts. Meantime, his run of winless majors was extended to 22 and will now stretch beyond seven years.

Woods' two-day total of 16 over was four shots higher than his previous Open worst, when he missed the cut in 2006 at Winged Foot at 12 over. For the season, Woods has made six starts, with a tie for 17th in the Masters as his best finish. He doesn't have a round in the 60s since the third round at Augusta, and he has twice shot in the 80s since then.

Woods was only one over on his round through 10 holes, but he made five bogeys coming in, including the last three.

"On a golf course like this," he said, "you get exposed and you have to be precise and dialed in. And obviously I didn't have that. Obviously, I need to get a little better for the British Open."

Woods said his schedule remains unchanged. He has committed to the Greenbrier in early July, followed by the British Open at St. Andrews, where he has won twice.

Mickelson flirts with cut

Phil Mickelson labored to make the cut, but he has a lot of work to do to seize his first U.S. Open win.

Mickelson managed to make only one birdie against five bogeys in shooting a 74 that put him at three over. He struggled again with the speed of the greens, including at No. 6, when he made bogey after leaving his first putt at least 10 feet short and it rolled to 20 feet away.

He made what should be considered a tremendous bogey at 14 when his approach found the greenside fescue. Mickelson slashed his wedge shot straight up in the air, getting to five feet to avoid making double.

Lovemark contending

Former TK star Jamie Lovemark is contending in the first major he has played. In reality, he's been preparing for this weekend for most of his life.

Sparked by holing out a bunker shot for birdie on the course's hardest hole, No. 7, the Rancho Santa Fe native shot two-under 70 to move to two under overall. Lovemark is playing very much like the golfer who once was the top-ranked amateur in the world and won an NCAA individual title as a Trojans freshman. He left TK when he turned pro after his junior year.

"It feels good," Lovemark said. "I was playing well coming into the week. I expected to play well. I've played a decent amount of high-level golf. I was looking forward to seeing the course and how it set up for my game. It's been good so far."

Plagued by injuries, including a back problem that required surgery, Lovemark, 27, has played only two full seasons on the PGA Tour (2012 and '14), but lost his card both times. He was two wins on the Web.com Tour, the most recent in 2013.

Hossler playing weekend

Mission Viejo's Beau Hossler, matching Jack Nicklaus with a third U.S. Open appearance as an amateur, made the weekend at three over.

After shooting 72 in the second round, Hossler, 20, said, "Obviously, I've proven to myself I can qualify for the event, but I think it's time I start making a move toward the lead."

Hossler is best remembered for contending into the weekend at the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club when he was still in high school.

Chip-ins

Amateur qualifier Brian Campbell of Mater Dei High shot 72 and was the top amateur on the leaderboard at one under. Campbell recently finished his senior year at Illinois and played in last year's Open, missing the cut.

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Rickie Fowler rallied from his opening 81 with a 73, but missed the cut at 14 over.

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Among the players near the bottom of the leaderboard were three former major champions: Woods, Lucas Glover (16 over) and Darren Clarke (17 over).

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