South Africa's Ernie Els swept to within one stroke of the lead in the 2000 Masters with a brilliant second round of 67 on a perfect spring day at Augusta National.
David Duval moved to the head of the pack when he shot a six-under-par 30 on the inward nine for a 65 and Els is one of three players hard on his heels. Fiji's Vijay Singh matched Els' 67 while left hander Phil Mickelson overcame a duffer's fluffed chip to put together a tidy 68.
No fewer than three PGA European Tour members are handily placed at two under, five ahead of World Number One Tiger Woods who added a 72 to his opening 75. They are two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer with rounds of 71,71, Sergio Garcia (70,72) and Retief Goosen who added a highly respectable 69 to his first round 73.
However defending champion José Maria Olazábal missed the four-over-par cut when he suffered nightmares on the notorious Augusta greens. He missed putt after putt for a horrendous 77 before staggering away in a state of near shock muttering: "It was just a terrible day on the greens. It has never happened to me before and I can't blame anyone or anything except myself."
On the credit side however Nick Faldo's change in fortunes continued. He shot a second 72 to ensure a working week-end saying: "You need a lot of brain power to play round here. At six off the pace I still have a chance but I need to get more aggressive with my putter."
Colin Montgomerie too played himself contention with a roller coaster 69 tacked onto his opening 76. He did so with the help of a holed seven iron for an eagle two on the 435 yards fifth hole but almost immediately undid that good work by taking a double-bogey six from "nowhere" at the 7th hole.
Darren Clarke was another who enjoyed fluctuating fortunes in his 71. He swooped to three under par after only five holes to two over in the next five before stringing together a run of four successive birdies from the 13th.
"Topsy-turvy?" he said. "It was wild. Six months ago I'd have been checking the next British Airways flight after 12 holes but hopefully my patience today shows how much I am progressing."
Seve Ballesteros had another nine in another 81 to miss the cut, as did Open champion Paul Lawrie who had an eight in his 74.