Tiger Woods quickly went about trying to repair the damage caused by a two-shot penalty as an incident-packed Masters continued today at Augusta National.
Woods was penalised for taking an incorrect drop on the 15th hole of his second round on Friday, dropping him from three under par to one under and five shots behind leader Jason Day.
But the world number one, seeking a fifth Green Jacket and a first since 2005 - when he was six shots behind at halfway – promptly birdied the first hole to reduce his deficit on a perfect day for scoring.
The penalty for Woods came the day after Chinese schoolboy Guan Tianlang was penalised one shot for slow play, meaning he only made the halfway cut on the mark at four over.
The 14-year-old, the youngest competitor in Masters history, carded a third round of 77 to finish nine over par.
Playing partner Thorbjorn Olesen fared considerably better with a round of 68 that moved the Danish debutant to level par, an excellent recovery after an opening 78.
“I actually thought I played well on the first day, but I didn’t figure out the greens the first day,” Olesen said.
“I hit a few bad drives on the back nine and got really punished and made a few doubles there. But I feel like I’ve played really well (since) and hit a lot of good drives and made it easy for myself.”
Day, attempting to become the first Australian to win the Masters, held a one-shot lead over compatriot Marc Leishman and 53-year-old former champion Fred Couples, with 2009 winner Angel Cabrera and American pair Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker a shot behind on four under.
On a crowded leaderboard, South African Tim Clark looked like setting the early clubhouse target as he reached three under par with three holes to play, with Rory McIlroy also three under after a birdie on the third.
Earlier in the day, defending champion Bubba Watson had threatened to get back into contention when he raced to the turn in 33 and also birdied the 10th.
That took the left-hander from the cut mark of four over to level par, but he dropped two shots coming home and eventually signed for a 70 which left him two over for the tournament.
Woods dropped a shot on the tough par-three fourth but holed from 10ft for birdie on the seventh to get back to two under.
That was still four behind Day after the 25-year-old, joint second here in 2011, opened with three straight pars, while Leishman had briefly joined his compatriot in the lead with a birdie on the second only to bogey the fourth.
Clark had completed a 67 to set the clubhouse target on three under, but McIlroy was back to one under after bogeys on the seventh and ninth took the world number two out in 37.