Cameron Smith has produced a spectacular finish to his second round to join a four-way tie at the top of a star-studded Masters leaderboard at Augusta National.
The Australian completed his rain-delayed first round with a five-under-par 67 before lighting up Augusta with an eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie four-hole closing blitz on Friday.
The two-time PGA Tour winner’s second-round four-under 68 propelled him to a nine-under 135 halfway total.
Alongside him are world No.1 Dustin Johnson (70), fellow American star Justin Thomas (69) and Smith’s International Presidents Cup teammate Abraham Ancer (67) from Mexico.
American Patrick Cantlay (66) and Korean Sungjae Im (70) are a shot further back, as are Spain’s Jon Rahm (through 12 holes) and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (through 15 holes), with darkness halting play for the day.
Former Masters champion Danny Willett (66) and his fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (66) and Justin Rose (70) were all in the clubhouse at seven under.
Also at seven under but with holes of their second round still remaining are two more of Smith’s Presidents Cup teammates, Korean CT Pan (through 16) and South African Louis Oosthuizen (through 12).
“I just like playing good golf and I wasn’t doing that in the middle of my second round so I vowed to try to lift my game on the way home,” Smith said after bogeys on the seventh, ninth, 10th and 14th holes threatened to bring him unstuck.
“But I guess I played a little better than expected. That was a bit weird but most certainly welcome.
“I’m looking forward to testing myself against these guys over the next two days.”
Johnson, who had a 30-minute turnaround after also returning on Friday to finish his first round, began the second round on the back nine and quickly pulled away with three consecutive birdies starting at the 11th.
But the American, looking to become the first world No.1 to win the Masters since Tiger Woods in 2002, then made his first bogey of the week when he three- putted from 32 feet at the par-four 14th.
He dropped another shot at the 15th thanks to a water ball.
Adam Scott was leading the Australian charge when he found the water in front of the green 15th green during his first round.
But the real twist of the knife came after he took a penalty drop and his pitch shot bounced into the flagstick, ricocheted backwards and once again ended up wet.
The resulting double bogey was a significant blow and, despite a gutsy bounce- back birdie on the following hole, Scott bogeyed the 18th to settle for a two- under 70.
He could only shoot an even-par 72 in the second round leaving him seven strokes off the pace.
Marc Leishman sits at four under with four holes left to play of his second round while Jason Day is even par and flirting with the cut with eight holes remaining.
Defending champion Woods is even on his second round through 10 holes to be four under and five shots back.