Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)
Five European Tour Members were just a shot off the lead as the second round of The Masters Tournament reached its climax at Augusta National.
Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen and Sergio Garcia were all four under in the clubhouse, with Miguel Angel Jiménez on the same mark with eight to play.
England’s Westwood would have led outright, but for a closing double bogey.
The World Number Three, ahead by one after an opening 67, still held that advantage until he missed the 18th green, chipped ten feet past and ran up a six.
A one over par 73 dropped the 2010 runner-up to four under for the opening Major of the season and left Americans Fred Couples - champion 20 years ago and now 52 - and Jason Dufner out in front on five under.
Oosthuizen’s day started with a double bogey at the second after finding water, and there were further dropped shots at the fourth and fifth.
But the South African carded three birdies in his last five holes to battle back to four under.
McIlroy reached the same mark before failing to get up and down from a bunker at the 17th, but then saved par from off the final green and with a fine 69 joined Westwood, 2010 Open Champion Oosthuizen and Spanish star Garcia only one behind.
Westwood said: "It was a disappointing way to finish, but if you get out of position on this course it can punish you.
"These things happen and they will happen to everybody."
Henrik Stenson was leading when he took eight on the hole on Thursday.
"I thought I made a few putts that didn't drop," added Westwood. "But I'm right in there for the weekend and that's where I want to be.
"The greens are getting more fiery and the wind is making it tricky."
McIlroy had finished his opening 71 with back-to-back birdies and said: "That was huge and it was nice just to get up today and get straight back at it.
"It put me in a positive frame of mind. I know I am playing well - my recent results (only one finish outside the top five since last August) show that.
"I just wanted to come and play and put myself in position to win another tournament, another Major."
Couples, captain of the American Presidents Cup team last November, described it as "a little bizarre" to find himself out in front after a "magical" 67.
But it was not totally surprising. He has finished sixth and 15th the last two years and stated: "It's my favourite place in the world to play.
"On the range I felt my body tightening up a bit and I just wanted to play solid."
Paul Lawrie slipped back from three under to level par, but then holed a viciously curling 40 footer on the 16th and by grabbing another birdie at the 17th was back up to joint 11th on two under.
Where the cut would fall was still in the balance as Spain's 48 year old Jiménez and American Nick Watney moved to four under with nine and ten holes to play respectively.
If either of them reached six under, those on five over faced a weekend off.
Former Open Champion Lawrie, in his first Masters Tournament since 2004, said: "I made two mistakes with the putter early on on the front nine which was costly, but I played all right to be fair.
"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm not going to get too far ahead of myself, no aspirations, just have a bit of fun and see what happens."