It's Jason's day out at Augusta; Garcia struggles

It's Jason's day out at Augusta; Garcia struggles

Golf Augusta Masters: Guan penalised but still makes cut

Jason Day put himself in prime position once again to end Australia's Masters jinx when he fired a four-under-par 68 to seize the lead at the halfway mark of the year's first major championship on Friday.

Day curled in a 13-foot birdie putt at the par-three 16th hole to break a three-way tie and finish at six-under-par 138 on a difficult day of swirling winds and tricky pin placements at Augusta National.

The 25-year-old Day, a runner-up in the Masters and US Open in 2011, wielded a hot putter to notch 10 one-putts in his quest to become the first Australian to claim a green jacket.

"Obviously there's a lot of pressure on my shoulders, being from Australia and no Australian has ever won the event," said Day, who withdrew from last year's Masters because of an ankle injury,” he added.

Day's right-to-left putt at 16 snapped a three-way tie at five-under with compatriot Marc Leishman and 1992 champion Fred Couples atop an impressive leaderboard.

The smooth-swinging Couples, 53, birdied the last for 71, while Leishman, the overnight co-leader after an opening 66, shot 73 to join him on 139.

Tiger Woods was part of a four-way logjam at five-under when he suffered a cruel bit of bad luck as his third shot into the par-five 15th struck the stick on the fly and rebounded back into the pond fronting the green.

Woods, who up until that point was the only player of 93 in the field without a bogey in his round, hit his fifth shot within three feet to save bogey.

A three-putt at the 18th gave world number one Woods another bogey for a 71 that dropped him to three-under 141, three shots off the pace.

Angel Cabrera of Argentina, the 2009 Masters champion, made a sizzling finish to join a three-way tie on four under par with Jim Furyk (71) and Brandt Snedeker (70). Cabrera birdied four in a row and five of the last six holes for his 69.

Joining Woods on 141 were Australian Adam Scott (72), Britons Lee Westwood (71), Justin Rose (71) and David Lynn (73), American Jason Dufner (69) and KJ Choi of South Korea (71).

Sergio Garcia of Spain teed off with a share of the lead after his 66, but soared to a 76 to finish on two-under 142.

Day's missed birdie chance at 17 saved the day for China's 14-year-old Guan Tianlang, who posted a 75 that included a penalty stroke for slow play that put him at four-over 148.

Guan squeezed into weekend play by being within 10 shots of the lead. Also advancing to the last two rounds was 2012 winner Bubba Watson who shot 73 for his 148 total.

Sixty-one players made the cut.

Among those missing were former US Open winner Graeme McDowell (149) and his fellow Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter (151), former British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen (150) and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson (149).

Leading scores (after 36 holes): 138: Jason Day (Aus); 139: Fred Couples (US), Marc Leishman (Aus); 140: Angel Cabrera (Arg), Jim Furyk (US), Brandt Snedeker (US); 141: Adam Scott (Aus), Jason Dufner (US), David Lynn (Gbr), Lee Westwood (Gbr), Justin Rose (Gbr), KJ Choi (Kor), Tiger Woods (US); 142: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp), Bernhard Langer (Ger), Sergio Garcia (Esp), Rory McIlroy (Gbr), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), John Senden (Aus); 143: Trevor Immelman (RSA), Steve Stricker (US), Dustin Johnson (US), Bill Haas (US), Matt Kuchar (US), Ryan Moore (US), Luke Donald (Gbr).

Woods avoids disqualification

Tiger Woods avoided possible disqualification from the Masters on Saturday when he was assessed a two-stroke penalty for taking an improper drop during Friday's second round.

The World No 1 earned his reprieve after being reviewed by officials for a penalty drop he took at the par-five 15th.

Woods suffered a freakish bounce with his third shot at the hole when his approach struck the flagstick before ricocheting backwards off the green and then down the slope into Rae's Creek.

Instead of going to the drop area on the far side of the water, he chose to play his fifth shot from the same place as his third.

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