Tiger Woods didn't come close and won't play on the weekend in a major for the first time as a professional.
Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie will be among the last golfers out on Saturday, both still in position to win the year's second major.
Montgomerie, who turns 43 next week and is still looking for his first major, led after the first round with a 1-under 69 and starts the third round one stroke behind Steve Stricker.
'Seventeen pars and a bogey. That's good. That's very good. I'm delighted with that,' Montgomerie said of his second-round 71 on Friday. 'One mistake is good, no birdies isn't, but at the same time it was very difficult to hit the ball close to the hole. The greens were very, very tricky.'
Mickelson, who is looking for his third straight major after winning the PGA Championship last year and the Masters in April, followed an opening 70 with a 3-over 73 that didn't start like a round that would keep someone in contention.
He bogeyed the first two holes and closed his front nine with another.
'I thought there was the potential out there, even after a couple of bogeys, to get it under par,' Mickelson said. 'I had a lot of birdie opportunities and nothing fell until 13.'
He made a 30-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 13th, and then strung together four pars until a closing bogey.
Mickelson pushed his drive left on the last hole behind trees, in an area where the grass was trampled by spectators. His second shot hit a tree and he wasn't much better off than before.
'I was just trying to get it over the trees just short right of the green so that I had an angle to pitch up the slope where my third shot ended up essentially. I just fatted it,' he said. 'Those things are going to happen as far as missing fairways and putting yourself in a bad spot and you just want to minimize the damage, and obviously that could have been a disastrous hole, but I walked away with a bogey and feel good about it.'
That's what a course like Winged Foot can do. This isn't a place where the leader's score is a number like winter temperatures up north.
'Guys are going to make bogeys. Bogeys are OK. I just had to prevent the double, prevent the really big mistake,' said Mickelson, who was tied for seventh. 'This is a very penalizing golf course and the scores are just going to get worse.'
Montgomerie's lone bogey came on the par-4 14th when his second shot hit a tree.
'I hit a great drive, 6-iron in and I just blocked it,' Montgomerie said. 'We all know how difficult it gets in the afternoon when a course dries out. I scrambled a couple of times to get pars. I'm glad I got in at 71.'
Mickelson and Montgomerie never had to worry about making the cut.
'My position is pretty good,' Mickelson said. 'Everyone wants to be in the lead, but I'm within four with two rounds to go, and I'm where I wanted to be in that I wanted to have a chance. It takes some really good golf to play well on such a tough course and I love the fact I have a chance.'
Montgomerie and Stricker, who had a second-round 69, will play together on Saturday.
'I'm delighted to get in and get in the last group in the U.S. Open,' Montgomerie said. 'It's been nine years since I was last at Congressional, so it's nice to achieve that goal and we'll see what happens over the weekend.'