Tiger Woods warned his rivals he is still capable of challenging at the US Masters despite ending the second day eight shots off the pace in Augusta.
The 27-year-old carded a lacklustre four-over opening 76, but moved back to two-over-par through 27 holes when darkness brought Friday's second round to a premature end.
The world number one - chasing a record third straight Masters title - was a long way off Canadian Mike Weir's six-under-par lead but insisted his improvement had given him confidence.
"I'm right where I need to be," said Woods.
"I have a chance in the tournament.
"You don't have to play a great second round to get back in - on this golf course you can't push it.
"At the end of the day I wanted to be even or under par.
"This afternoon I made a couple of putts and that's what I had to do."
"It was mentally and physically tough out there."
World number two Ernie Els - making his return from a wrist injury - also made a spirited fightback after a nightmare start to his challenge.
The South African hit a first round 79 in which he failed to discover the form that has helped him to four tournament victories in 2003.
"I missed shots on the wrong sides and then I just had no touch," he said.
"II was uncomfortable on the greens but I was OK with my swing.
"My pace was off and I was tentative on chip shots and I was just not close to where I wanted to be."
But the quick turnaround between the first and second rounds benefited Els and the birdies began to come.
"I just had to start feeling my putts better," he said.
"To come into this tournament and get on these greens in tournament conditions is a big mental challenge."