Shane Lowry finished strongly in his second round at Augusta to keep himself in contention heading into the weekend at the Masters.
Lowry carded a one-over-par round of 73 to leave himself on evens following a tumultuous day on the course. The Offaly golfer got off to the worst possible start when he made a double bogey at the very first hole to undo some of his good work on Thursday.
Things got worse before they got better as Lowry bogeyed the second, before he bounced back with a birdie at the third. Further bogeys followed at the seventh and 11th, which left him at +3 for the tournament, before he rebounded with back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13.
The 2019 Open champion missed a few opportunites to better his score on the subsequent holes before a cracking approach to the 18th gave him a tap-in birdie to finish at even par overall.
Lowry is seven shots behind clubhouse leader Justin Rose, who bounced back from a terrile start to his round to finish with a level-par 72 for the day.
Rose admitted he was close to pushing the panic button after recovering from a poor start to his second round in the 85th Masters.
Rose saw his four-shot overnight lead wiped out as he covered his opening 12 holes in three over par, but birdied the 13th, 14th and 16th to add a 72 to his stunning opening 65 and sit at seven under.
“The finger was getting closer to the button,” joked the former US Open champion, who said not panicking after being two over through seven holes of his first round had been the key to Thursday’s heroics.
“It was a tough start today, poor tee shot on number one and had to chip out sideways, and then from that moment on, for the first six or seven holes I just kept leaving the ball on the greens but in really tough spots.
“I felt like I really hung in well and weathered that period of the round. Just little things were going wrong but didn’t hit the panic button and really pleased to turn it around.
“Made some great swings I felt round Amen Corner and hit a really aggressive tee shot on 13 and felt that was a good turning point for me today.”
Only one player in tournament history had enjoyed a bigger lead after 18 holes than Rose, but the 40-year-old was well aware of the difficulty in following one great round with another.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, very rarely do you put a great round of golf together like I did yesterday and you back it up with an even more incredible round,” he added on Sky Sports.
“There’s going to be situations on the weekend where I probably face little mini crises out there and that’s what you have to go through to win a major tournament – you don’t just skip round the golf course for 72 holes.
“I’m fully expecting to face that a couple more times this week and just to keep battling through it.”