His 4-over 74 on Friday had him eight shots off the lead and left his chances for finally winning the tournament that would give him a career Grand Slam as a long shot, at best.

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UNIVERSITY PLACE — The cheer that turned into a standing ovation from the grandstand overlooking the ninth hole when Phil Mickelson merely tugged at his cap proved that he always will be a star attraction in the world of golf.


Mickelson, though, appears resigned to a supporting role in the 115th U.S. Open after a slog of a second round resulted in a 4-over 74 and a two-round total of 143, three strokes over par.

Photos from the U.S. Open

That had him eight shots off the lead and left his chances for finally winning the tournament that would give him a career Grand Slam as a long shot, at best.

“I’ll have to come out tomorrow (Saturday) and get a good game plan and figure out how to shoot something in the mid-60s and get back in it,’’ he said. “It’s very difficult for anyone to run away with it. But I’m going to have to hopefully get conditions in the morning that are a little bit easier and then progressively get more difficult for the leaders, because that’s really my only chance to catch up.’’

In fact, for much of the day, Mickelson’s part in this Open seemed like it might be destined for the cutting-room floor, as his score danced perilously close to falling below the cut line.

But Mickelson saved his best for last, with his only birdie on the eighth hole (which was his 17th) and then a par on the ninth.

Afterward, he lamented three three-putts and 35 putts overall.

The tone was set when he missed a five-footer on his first hole, the 10th, for what was one of three bogies he had on his first nine holes.

“It was a tough day,’’ he said. “It wasn’t that far off. I just struggled on that surface area near the hole, and I just couldn’t get the ball in and I didn’t quite hit it quite as well as (Thursday, when he had a 69). But it wasn’t that bad. It was controlled misses, reasonable misses. I just couldn’t get the ball in the hole.’’

Mickelson had anticipated the area around the hole might prove challenging when he played a practice round at Chambers Bay on May 29.

“You could tell it was going to be an interesting week, yeah,’’ he said with a bemused smile.

Otherwise, Mickelson said he likes the course and the way it has been arranged the first two days.

“There are birdies to be had out here,’’ he said. “ … Tee to green, there is nothing about it that is unfair. It’s a totally fair set up. But I do need to find a way to get it in the hole.’’

Mickelson did make a few putts — notably, a 15-footer to save a bogey on the par-4 14th, and a 10-footer for the birdie on eighth.

But he knows he’ll have to make a few more Saturday if he is to make this the U.S. Open when he finally breaks through and claims the one major championship he needs to complete the career grand slam.

He has finished second a record six times, and at 45 years old might not have many tournaments left to get the title that would make him just the sixth golfer in the modern era to win all four majors (the others being Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen).

After Mickelson birdied three of the first eight holes Thursday, the stage for a history-making run appeared set.

But he’s had just two birdies since, with eight bogies pockmarking his scorecard.

And thought he presented an optimistic tone afterward, his words indicated he knows attaining an even higher level of golf immortality might need to wait another year.

“It’s a U.S. Open, and it happens,’’ he said of his struggles Friday. “Everybody is going to go through a tough spell, and I fought through mine. Well, hopefully it’s my only one. But that is unlikely. I need to get a hot hand (Saturday), though.’’