"I started making some putts on the back nine and I had something like eight or nine single putts (all day)," the Scot told BBC Sport after carding seven birdies and five bogeys in blustery conditions.
"Not all long ones but nice ones at the right time. I wasn't hitting the ball that well in terms of knocking the pins out. I only hit about six or seven greens (in regulation) but I missed them in the right spot.
Lyle, the first Briton to win the Masters, began his round seven strokes off the pace and made a birdie at the par-five 2nd before losing ground with four consecutive bogeys from the 4th.
"It's been a grinding day. I knew after nine holes I had a bit of work to do as I was two over for the tournament," he said.
Lyle's back-nine run ended when he bogeyed the par-four 18th and he added: "I drove it well down the stretch and I was a bit disappointed on the last not to hit an eight-iron approach into the heart of the green. I just hit a poor shot.
"This isn't the sort of course where you can be aggressive. You have to be very cagey and take your chances when they arrive."
Highlights - Rose chips in twice in a row
With the cut set at one over par - at the Masters players must be within 44 places of the lead and/or not more than 10 strokes behind the leader - Rose, Poulter,
Houston Open winner Casey
all made it with a shot to spare on level par, while Ross Fisher
survived on the limit after shooting 76.
"I played really nicely for the first nine holes but on the back nine it was a case of hanging in there," said Donald. "I made a couple of good up-and-downs at the end. It will be really nice to be around for the weekend, anything can happen on this course."
Poulter felt the blustery conditions made the course far more difficult to negotiate than on Thursday, when it was bathed in sunshine and ideal for low scoring.
"At the start things were similar to yesterday but then the wind began to pick up," he said. "It's tricky out there but level par is never going to be too far off."
bowed out on four over while Welshman Ian Woosnam
was a shot further back.
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