English duo Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter will take a two-shot lead into Saturday's third round of the Masters at Augusta.
The pair ended eight under, two shots clear of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, KJ Choi, Ricky Barnes and Anthony Kim, with YE Yang another shot adrift after a sunny but breezy second day in Georgia.
First-round leader Fred Couples, 50, and fellow veteran Tom Watson, 60, both dropped back to three under alongside Dane Soren Kjeldsen (71) after rounds of 75 and 74 respectively.
Westwood, who is chasing a maiden major title after thirds at the USPGA and Open last year, eagled the second and reached 10 under after 13 holes to lead Poulter by two.
But the world number four dropped two shots at the 14th after tangling with the trees and pine needles down the left, before clawing a shot back at the 15th only to bogey 18 for a 69.
I'm good enough to win - Westwood
"It was a grinding day, danger lurks everywhere and you have to keep your wits about you," said Westwood.
Poulter came into the event brimming with confidence after his maiden win in America at the WGC Match Play earlier this year, and despite a similar bogey at the last for a 68 he was delighted to be in contention.
"I enjoyed it very much," he said. "When you hit the ball very well it is a joy to play here. I was really solid today and had plenty of chances. I hit a lot of good golf shots.
"In the last 18 months I've put a lot of work into my game. My putting, I'm very confident with that in my hand. If putts aren't going in they are having a look and burning the edges."
Woods maintained his position two shots off the lead after an uneventful two-under 70, comprising three birdies and a bogey.
Conditions are difficult - Woods
"It feels good to be back and in contention," said Woods, the four-time Masters champion, who has not played since November because of a sex scandal.
"I usually put myself in contention most of the time most years here and I'm right there.
"We've got 36 more holes and I'm sure they are not going to make the golf course easy for us."
Mickelson, the winner in 2004 and 2006, carded a one-under 71 after another solid round, although the left-hander did burn the edge of the 18th hole with his last shot of the day.
"I just love this place," he said.
"There's a couple of things about it that just suit me. There's not a huge rough so it gives you a chance to recover.
"If I miss a shot I'm still able to chip one up to the green and use my short game to get it down."
Watson was unable to replicate his brilliant opening round of 67 but a 74 keeps him in contention.
"Today I didn't get the ball up and down once from off the green - I didn't scramble very well," said Watson.
"You can't trust the wind, that's what makes the Augusta National so difficult, as well as all the lies."
Trevor Immelman, winner of the 2008 Masters, is two under along with Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan, while Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els were among those back at level par.
The halfway cut, which included the top 44 and anyone within 10 shots of the lead, fell at three over, meaning defending champion Angel Cabrera squeezed in courtesy of a birdie on the last.
But Ireland's three-time major champion Padraig Harrington was among a host of big names who will miss the weekend after a 75 to end five over alongside Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell (74), and England's Luke Donald (75).
Another Englishman, Masters debutant Simon Dyson, was six over after adding a 73 to his opening 77, and 20-year-old Northern Irish star Rory McIlroy ended seven over after a 77.
England's Paul Casey was nine over after a 78, while compatriot Chris Wood, also making his first Masters appearance, carded 78, 76 for 10 over.
Scotland's Sandy Lyle, the 1988 Masters champion, scored 17 shots worse than his opening round for an 86 to end 11 over.
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