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Rory McIlroy makes second round charge at the Masters

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Rory McIlroy Has A More Cautious Plan For The Masters This Year

Masters champion Jordan Spieth was again threatening to run away with the Green Jacket on Friday until Rory McIlroy mounted a rousing second-round charge after the turn at a gusty Augusta National.

With a win and a runner-up finish in two Masters, Spieth's name has become an almost permanent fixture atop the Augusta leaderboard and that trend continued as the 22-year-old refused to be blown from his perch by baffling winds as he wobbled through the turn with a two-shot lead.

But Spieth, who at one point on his outward nine led by five, was looking over his shoulder at the hard-charging McIlroy, who had three birdies on his final six holes for a one-under 71 to put his bid for a career grand slam back on track.

Spieth had slept on a two-shot overnight cushion and by the time he stepped onto the first tee to start his second round had seen his advantage grow to three with none of the early starters able to mount a serious challenge on another sunny, gusty day.

The world number two went quickly to work, drawing a huge roar from the large gallery tracking him when he rolled in a 14-foot birdie putt at the first to get to seven-under and put even more pressure on the chasing pack.

Spieth continued to pull away with an easy birdie at the third after a pinpoint approach left him a two-footer to get to eight-under.

PHOTOS FROM THE MASTERS:

48 PHOTOS
Masters 2016
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Rory McIlroy makes second round charge at the Masters
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Ian Poulter hits out of a bunker on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Bubba Watson hits out of a bunker on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Bernhard Langer hits out of a bunker on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Russell Knox hits a shot on the 8th hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Russell Knox hits from the rough on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Bubba Watson plays a shot on the 8th hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Shane Lowry hits his tee shot on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy waves to the crowd after an eagle putt on the 13th green during the first round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Jason Day hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Kiradech Aphibarnrat holds up his golf ball after putting on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Keegan Bradley plays his approach to the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Ian Poulter hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Smylie Kaufman hits out of a bunker on the 10th hole during the first round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 08: Danny Lee of New Zealand stands on the second fairway during the second round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 08: Charl Schwartzel of South Africa plays his shot from the second tee during the second round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 08: Hunter Mahan of the United States plays his shot from the fourth tee during the second round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Jordan Spieth makes par on the 18th green during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Hideki Matsuyama walks to the 18th green during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Patrons applaud as Jordan Spieth walks off the 18th green during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Zach Johnson (left) shakes hands with Rickie Fowler (right) after completing the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Webb Simpson hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Tom Watson reacts after missing a long putt on the 18th green during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the 7th hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Jordan Spieth putts on the 6th hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Jordan Spieth hits a shot on the 5th hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Paul Casey hits out of a bunker on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy chips onto the 10th green during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy after making a putt on the 2nd green during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy lines up a putt on the 2nd green during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; General view of Martin Kaymer , Bill Haas and Rory McIlroy on the 2nd green during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the first round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Jordan Spieth waves to the crowd after making a putt on the 1st green during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Jordan Spieth plays his approach to the 2nd hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Hideki Matsuyama waves to the crowd after a birdie putt on the 2nd green during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Bernhard Langer putts on the 2nd green during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy after putting on the 2nd green during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Billy Horschel chips onto the 2nd green during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy waves to the crowd after putting on the 7th green during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Dustin Johnson hits his tee shot on the 7th hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Bernhard Langer hits his tee shot on the 7th hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Hideki Matsuyama hits his tee shot on the 7th hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Lee Westwood reacts after an eagle putt on the 15th green during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Danny Willett reacts after putting on the 18th green during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Danny Willett waves to the crowd after completing the 18th hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Jordan Spieth reacts after hitting his tee shot on the 12th hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Patrons cheer and clap for Danny Willett after Willett completed the 18th hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Danny Willett waves to the crowd after completing the 18th hole during the final round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
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But danger lurks everywhere at Augusta National, and Spieth found it at the par-four fifth where he ran up a double bogey that slashed his advantage to three.

Spieth hit back with a birdie at the eighth but stumbled through the turn with bogeys at nine and 10 and suddenly MclIroy, boosted by his blazing finish, was nipping at his heels.

McIlroy started the day four strokes behind the American front-runner and appeared to be heading in the wrong direction as he covered the front nine in one-over.

But the former world number one caught fire late in the round with birdies at 13, 15 and 16 and a clutch par save at the last to reach the midway point of the year's first major championship at three-under 141.

New Zealand's Danny Lee was among the early starters and tried to mount a charge with a birdie on the second moving him within one of the lead but he endured an up-and-down afternoon to card a 74 to finish three off the pace with American Scott Piercy (72).

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Data curated by PointAfter

World number one Jason Day's struggles continued as he battled his way to a one-over 73, leaving the Australian six strokes behind the pace-setting Spieth.

It was another frustrating day for twice Masters champion Bubba Watson, who opened with a bogey at the first and then went into a tailspin, dropping shots at four, five and six on the way to a three-over 75 and in danger of missing the cut for the first time in eight visits to Augusta.

Watson could be joined at the exit by world number five Rickie Fowler, one of the pre-Masters favourites, 2011 champion South African Charl Schwartzel and four-time major winner Ernie Els, who put himself in a deep hole with a nine on his first round opening hole on Thursday and could never climb out.

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