Spieth hangs on to Masters lead, but just barely

At right, lining up his putt is Daniel Berger.

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits a shot on the fifth hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 8, 2016, in Augusta, Ga.

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Danny Lee, of New Zealand, lines up his putt on the second green during the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga.

"It was tough with these conditions, with the west wind and so many shots into the wind", said Spieth, who opened with a 64 on his way to the Green Jacket past year.

"I sort of feel that Augusta owes me something and I have come with that attitude", McIlroy told RTE after a second round of 71 in swirling winds left him just a shot behind Spieth, who struggled to a 74.

Along with the unlikely birdie on the 16th, he had to get out of the trees right of the 18th fairway, and then pitched to 6 feet and saved par.

The defending champion had to sink a 15-foot par putt on the final hole to preserve his slender advantage and card a two-over 74 for four-under 140. Still, nobody else had been able to close the gap.

The par threes were tough but I played the par fives the way I wanted to.

The 22-year-old has three birdies but two bogeys and double bogey through his opening 13 to drop to five under for the week, two clear at the top.

World No 1 Jason Day got back into red numbers on the front nine during the second round at the Masters.

This week's Masters had the makings of being extra special with every player in the world's top six in good form during the build-up and defending champion Spieth and four-times major victor McIlroy now occupy the top two spots on the leaderboard.

"Two-under through three, with being a little upset about that, considering I didn't birdie two, was a dream start", said Spieth, whose 270 past year when he won set a Masters scoring record.

Spieth looked like himself at the start of the round, which means the guy who began the day with a combined score of 29-under in nine previous rounds here, none worse than 72.

Fifteen minutes later, Spieth made a 10-foot putt for another bogey on 10.

Ernie Els managed a mere double bogey on the first hole after an embarrassing quintuple bogey a day earlier.

Later, the score was amended to a 9, and he also finished at 80.

But the two-time Masters champion shot a 6-over 78 on Friday that left him two shots off his goal this week - to become, at 66, the oldest player to make the cut in tournament history.

Lahiri was tied 59th and will need to produce a strong second round to make the cut which falls at 50 plus ties or not more than 10 shots outside the leader. 4 and 5 with a birdie at the sixth. He still leads the Masters, but he no longer owns it. For the first time in his life, he shot an over-par round at this tournament, opening the door for all kinds of enticing possibilities over the weekend, all of which still revolve around him. "Two under through three, that was a dream start", Spieth said.

Related News: