Four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy is just one shot behind leader Jordan Spieth, after carding an impressive 1-under-par round of 71.
With the wind gusting, conditions were a lot tougher than the first round, and scoring proved that with a lot of scores in the high 70’s, in fact there were only five rounds under-par.
McIlroy started strong with early birdies at the 2nd and 3rd, but a sloppy double bogey at the 4th cancelled out his good early work. After another bogey on the 11th, McIlroy rallied back with birdies at the par 5 13th & 15th to get back to 2-under-par for the tournament.
The Northern Irishman then showed his class with a 30-foot left to right swinging birdie putt on the 16th hole, and all of a sudden was within sight of Spieth. After scuttling out of the trees at 18, McIlroy produced what could turn out to be a significant par save to finish his round on 1-under-par, and 3-under for the Tournament.
At one point, Jordan Spieth was 8-under-par and five shots clear of his closest competitor, but an uncharacteristic 4-putt double-bogey on the 5th hole brought the chasing pack that little bit closer and his tension levels certainly rose during the next few hours. Spieth was frustrated, and was in danger of letting the round slip away from him.
A couple of good par saves at 12 & 14 steadied the ship somewhat. That was until he reached the 16th tee. Another 3-putt meant another bogey, which was then followed up by another on the 17th hole.
The defending champion made sure he would have a one shot lead heading into the weekend with a great up and down at the last from the bunker. He will play in the final group tomorrow with Rory McIlroy, a pairing that everyone will be eager to see.
Elsewhere on the course, world Number one Jason Day battled hard for a 1-over-par 73, but will still fancy his chances being just five shots off the lead heading into the weekend.
It was not a good day for former Masters champions with Charl Schwartzel, Trevor Immelman and Phil Mickelson all failing to make the 6-over-par cut. Bubba Watson and Adam Scott find themselves with a mountain to climb if they have any hopes of winning another green jacket.
It was also a tricky day for the Brits. Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey all started their second rounds on 3-under-par, but after 36 holes find themselves all over par for the Tournament.
The real winner today though was Augusta National. The conditions were tough, but not as tough as some of the pin positions and firm greens. Tomorrow is another day, and will hopefully be a day that will live long in the memory.