Sergio Garcia was on the charge early on day two of the Masters to move within four shots of leader Charley Hoffman, but defending champion Danny Willett faces a battle to make the weekend.
Garcia, regarded as one of the finest players to not own a major title, was red hot from the start and made birdies at the first, second and third - the first time he has birdied his opening three holes at Augusta - to reach four under par.
The 37-year-old is often noted for his struggles with the putter but drained a 20-footer at the third to continue his upward momentum.
However, he dropped his first shot of the tournament at the fourth after coming up short of the green, but he recovered with a pair of pars and was three under for the tournament through six on round two.
Hoffman was the exception to the rule on an opening day of indifferent scoring, carding a sublime seven-under 65 and made an early gain at the second before handing that shot back at the sixth - his first bogey since the fifth on Thursday - to remain even par for the round.
Masters debutant William McGirt was level with Garcia on three under having made several brilliant par saves on the back nine to stay level for the day.
Rory McIlroy fought back magnificently on the back nine on day one to finish level par for his round, but endured another frustrating opening by going bogey-birdie-bogey and he was one over for the tournament - one stroke adrift of playing partner and exciting Masters debutant Jon Rahm.
Further down the leaderboard, Willett was left toiling after a horrendous quadruple-bogey eight at the first - a hole where he made six on day one - in part due to an ugly shank.
Another dropped shot at the fourth was negated slightly by a birdie at the 10th but he is five over and remains in danger of becoming the first defending champion since Mike Weir in 2004 to miss the cut, while Open champion Henrik Stenson was seven over and also fighting to reach the weekend.