Padraig Harrington has work to do ahead of next week's Northern Trust Open at Riviera after missing his third cut from his last five PGA Tour starts in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

In a bad week for the Irish, Paul McGinley missed his third cut in a row.

Five strokes outside the projected cut mark starting the day, Harrington battled his way up the leaderboard when he played his first 14 holes in three under par.

He needed to play his last four holes in two under but made a couple of late bogeys instead and signed for a one-under par 71 that left him four shots outside the top 60 qualifiers on two-over par.

Since he lifted the Wanamaker Trophy and his third Major title in the space of 14 months in last season's US PGA at Oakland Hills, the Dubliner has found it tough going on American soil.

Jaded after his exploits in Detroit, the world No 3 missed the cut in the first two events of last year's FedEx Cup play-offs - The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship - and failed to qualify for the Tour Championship.

Despite his best efforts, there was nothing in the tank at the Ryder Cup and his haul of just half a point from his four matches was a major factor in Europe's first defeat in that competition since 1999.  

He finished the year strongly enough in Shanghai and Singapore, where were he was tied 11th and runner up respectively. And after taking eight weeks off to recharge,  was surprised that he performed so well on his return to action in Abu Dhabi in late January, where he finished in a tie for fifth place with a 17-under par total.

After taking another two weeks off to work on his game, Harrington struggled with a hook on his 2009 PGA Tour bow in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines but closed with a 68 to finish tied 24th.

At Pebble Beach, however, he was always swimming against the tide. 

He took 37 putts at Poppy Hills to card a 74 in the first round and showed signs that his short game is far from razor sharp when he posted a 73 at Pebble Beach on Friday.

In round three he had another bad day with the driver,  hitting less than a third of the fairways and racking up 30 putts despite missing just five greens.

For playing partner McGinley, it was a long trip to the west coast for little reward as he carded six birdies, two bogeys, a double bogey and a quadruple bogey eight in a 74 that left him nine shots outside the cut mark on seven-over par. 

It was his third missed cut in a row after previous failures in Qatar and Dubai. More worryingly, McGinley is paying a heavy price for his mistakes and struggling badly on the greens.

With a second round 77 hanging like a millstone around his neck, the 42-year old bogeyed the 10th but then birdied the 11th and 14th to keep his remote hopes of making the cut alive. But a double bogey six at the 15th, followed by a nightmare eight at the par-four 16th and another bogey at the 18th smashed his hopes.

He came home in an immaculate, four-under par 32 but an alarming total of 98 putts for just three rounds tells its own story.

Big-hitting American Dustin Johnson, a Walker Cup rival of Rory McIlroy's at Royal County Down less than 18 months ago, shot a 67 at Poppy Hills to lead by four strokes on 15-under par from Canada's Mike Weir. 

Overnight leader Retief Goosen went backwards with a 74 at Spyglass and now trails Johnson by five strokes on 10-under par.