AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Jason Day was buffeted but not broken by the wind as he eked out a respectable one-over-par 73 to remain in contention for a second consecutive major after his second round at the 80th Masters on Friday.
World number one Day dropped three shots on the back nine as gusting winds whipped across Augusta National and dried out the course, creating havoc for the world’s best players.
He was delighted to reach the sanctuary of the clubhouse by just after 3 p.m. ET (1900 GMT) with a one-over 145 halfway total, and ended the day just five strokes behind pacesetting American Jordan Spieth.
“It almost feels like we’re just trying to survive out there and (it‘s) like a U.S. Open to a point,” said the Australian, who has two near-misses at the Masters, a tie for second in 2011 and a third-placing two years later.
“It’s really hard to commit to a lot of the shots out there and you got to be very mentally strong.”
Day, who broke his major duck by winning the PGA Championship in August, teed off at 9.59 a.m. ET, by which time the wind was already a factor but far from reaching its zenith.
He negotiated the front with three birdies and one bogey to turn at two-under, but the back nine was a survival test.
Bogeys at the 11th, 13th and 18th holes halted his progress, not that he was the only one to have trouble.
At the par-five 13th, he got a lucky break when a poor drive ricocheted back into the fairway from where he failed to take advantage, finding the Rae’s Creek tributary with his second shot.
Then, after taking a penalty, he dumped his fourth shot into the water as well before going to salvage a bogey by coaxing in a 15-foot putt.
“I holed a lot of good putts out there today for par and birdie,” said the 28-year-old, who first swung a club at the age of three after his late father found an old three-wood in a rubbish dump near their home in the state of Queensland.
“It’s about survival over these last two days and even tomorrow. And then Sunday might get a little bit easier, but I probably doubt that, too.”
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes