South Africa's Retief Goosen shot 69 to take a two-stroke lead, giving himself a shot at his second U.S. Open title in four years.
Despite 73, Phil Mickelson is in position to win his second straight major.
Ernie Els shot 70 and will be paired with countryman Goosen in the final group.
Jeff Maggert, who has six top-10 finishes at the Open, got to 7 under par through five holes before playing the final 13 holes 6-over. He was four back.
Vijay Singh was in contention at the start of the day, but didn't make a birdie and shot 77.
Double bogey at the last hole knocked Shigeki Maruyama three back.
"It doesn't matter who you are, you're going to be nervous when you play out there. It's how you handle the pressure, that's all." - GOOSEN, leader by two over Els and Mickelson
WAVERING LOYALTY: British Open champion Ben Curtis has an endorsement deal to wear NFL logoed shirts and hats during tournament rounds, typically for nearby teams. He has been alternating between Giants and Jets shirts this week. A few weeks ago at the Memorial, Curtis got some ribbing from fans when he wore a Bengals shirt. Curtis, an Ohioan and Browns fan, put on a Browns shirt the next day.
ASIAN INFLUENCE: Asian players have become more prominent, but have found more success on the LPGA Tour, where South Koreans Se Ri Pak and Grace Park have won majors. There has yet to be an Asian player win a men's major. When Maruyama tied for the first- and second-round leads, he became just the second Japanese player to lead the Open. Isao Aoki was tied with Jack Nicklaus through three rounds in 1980. Japan's Shingo Katayama led after the second round of the 2001 PGA Championship, as did Taiwan's T.C. Chen at the 1985 U.S. Open.
STAT OF THE DAY
f,9,um0,,10.8 Just three players broke par: Goosen (69), Tim Clark (66) and Charles Howell (68).