Former champion Charl Schwartzel has navigated gusting winds to grab a share of the early clubhouse lead with Masters first-round frontrunner Sungjae Im.
Schwartzel, who began the second round five shots back of Im, mixed two bogeys with five birdies for a three-under-par 69 on Friday that left the South African at three under for the tournament.
Im, who’d led Australian Cameron Smith by one shot after the first round, carded a two-over 74 to join Schwartzel safely in the clubhouse as the afternoon starters faced treacherous winds of up to 50kph at Augusta National.
Im was even par on the day until bogeys at the 10th, where his approach shot missed the green, and the par-three 12th where he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
But the South Korean responded with a tap-in birdie from two feet at the par-five 13th, and was one over on the day through 14 holes.
He found the water with an aggressive approach to the par-5 15th, birdied 16 and dropped another at 18 in a wild finish to his round.
Smith, who started his round as joint-leader with Im and England’s former winner Danny Willett, dropped two shots in his first four holes to fall to two under and one shot behind the leaders.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods again had all the attention on him, as he followed his impressive start with a couple of bogeys in his first three holes to open his second round at Augusta National.
Back in action this week after a February 2021 car accident that nearly cost him his right leg, Woods sent his opening tee shot into a fairway bunker, hit his approach right of the green and then failed to get up and down from 26 yards.
The five-times Masters champion had ended the first round four shots back of Im after a one-under par 71 that left him in a nine-way share of 10th place.
Rory McIlroy, who this week is making his eighth consecutive attempt to complete the career grand slam of golf’s four majors, was two over through 14 holes and three over on the week with the early projected cut at four over.
Among the early Australian finishers, Cameron Davis was left with a nervous wait to learn whether his 73, which left him at four over, was going to be enough to get him to the weekend.
Marc Leishman was also four over after a second-round 75.
But Lucas Herbert looked sure to miss out after his second round of 76 left him at six over.