Charl Schwartzel makes big move on testing second day at Augusta
Former champion Charl Schwartzel overcame a distinct lack of form and some testing conditions to move into contention for a second Masters title.
Schwartzel has missed the cut in each of his last six starts on the PGA Tour and hit the headlines for throwing a club in frustration during the first round of the Valspar Championship.
However, the 37-year-old South African mastered a blustery wind at Augusta National to card five birdies and two bogeys in a second round of 69 to set the early clubhouse target on three under.
There was not such good news for Schwartzel’s compatriot Louis Oosthuizen, the former Open champion withdrawing before the start of his second round due to an unspecified injury.
The absence of Oosthuizen, who had finished second, second and third in his previous three majors, meant Tiger Woods had only Joaquin Niemann for company as he got his second round under way.
Woods carded an opening 71 on his latest remarkable return from injury, the 15-time major winner having suffered serous leg injuries in a car crash in February last year.
Since winning his last major title in the 2014 US PGA Championship, McIlroy is a combined 35 over par in the first round of majors, his latest effort being a one-over 73 on Thursday.
That left the 32-year-old facing an uphill battle to win a green jacket and complete the career grand slam, with 32 of the last 35 Masters champions shooting par or better in the first round.
McIlroy felt he had played better than his score suggested and hit a superb drive and approach to the first on day two, only to miss the birdie putt from 10 feet.
A wayward drive on the par-five second was fortunate not to finish behind a tree and Mcllroy was able to punch his approach out just right of the green before chipping to two feet for a welcome birdie.
A bogey on the fifth was followed by another dropped shot on the 10th and a double-bogey on the 11th, where a wild second shot into the crowd was compounded by a three-putt from short range.
At four over par, McIlroy faced a battle to avoid missing the cut for the second successive year.
WATCH: Amateur pulls off magical flop shot – with a little help from friend on the green
Is there anything better than a well-executed flop shot?
Seven irons that will give you more distance on the golf course
These irons are great for improving players looking to gain distance.
St Francis Links might just be Jack Nicklaus’ best design work outside of North America
St Francis Links is a Jack Nicklaus masterpiece.
WATCH: Golfer bends shot around tree in amazing shot you’ll watch on repeat
What a bold shot this is.
Puma launch eyebrow-raising new golf shoe design that could be trailblazing
Puma are trying to change the game.
WATCH: Golfer caught on camera practising Texas wedge at the range
Practice makes perfect they say and that goes double for the old Texas Wedge.
Why golf shoes are the most overlooked piece of equipment that can help your game
Don’t neglect your golf shoes.
The 7 best golf courses in Kenya including DP World Tour stop Muthaiga
Seven of the finest courses in Kenya alight this list.
WATCH: ‘A little fat’ – Young golfer hilariously buries his clubhead in the ground
Isn’t this just how things go?
Six great reasons to visit golfing Mecca Wilmington in Delaware
Why you should visit the First State’s golfing mecca.