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Woods was hoping to move up the leaderboard after a first round 73 only go in the other direction as a three-over-par 75 left him on four-over 148.

But the 42-year-old was still in positive mood despite being out of contention for victory.

“Six months ago I didn’t know if I would play golf again, but here we are at the weekend of the Masters,” he said.

After a poor start and standing four-over-par, Woods looked in real trouble as he dumped his tee shot at the short 12th into the water for the second day in a row.

But once again a fine recovery shot and single putt limited his losses to a bogey, which left him on the eventual cut mark of five-over-par.

Birdies on the 14th and 15th gave the 14-time major winner a safety buffer and he could afford to drop a further shot on the 16th but still be around for the final two rounds.

Reed tames Augusta

Reed, seeking his first major, moved clear of the field with a brilliant six-under 66, opening up a two-shot gap on his nearest challenger Marc Leishman of Australia, who partnered Woods for the opening two days.

Five birdies to the turn in 31 laid the foundations for the Ryder Cup star, but he had to maintain his momentum to keep an inspired Leishman, who carded a 67, at bay.

“I was really steady throughout the entire day,” said Reed.

“You have to give yourself the opportunities and then let the putter do the work.”

The chasing pack is led at five-under-par by Henrik Stenson of Sweden, while first round leader Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are a shot further back.

Spieth was one of the first casualties of testing conditions for early starters as he pulled his opening tee shot into the trees on the left at the opening hole failed to get out and ran up a double bogey.

A bogey on the next saw him back to three-under from six-under overnight in just two holes and reaching the turn in 40 saw him back in the pack.

But in typical Spieth style the 2015 winner hit back with birdies on the 13th and 15th to scramble to a two-over-par 74 and remain in hunt.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIllroy played solidly for a one-under-par 71, which might have been better as several birdie chances narrowly missed to his obvious frustration.

“It’s so tricky,” he reflected after battling the swirling winds and lightning-fast greens.

McIlroy is chasing the career grand slam and a fifth major title, his hopes boosted by a sensational win at Bay Hill last month.

But Phil Mickelson’s hopes nosedived after a fine start, making a sorry triple bogey on the ninth and then finding the water on the short 12th to run up a double bogey.

He battled hard to make up the lost ground but had to settle for a seven-over 79 to finish on the cut line at five-over-par 147. “A rough couple of days,” was his verdict.

Tony Finau dislocates ankle in Masters hole-in-one celebration

While Mickelson struggled other fancied contenders made their move, with world number one Dustin Johnson charging into contention at three-under-par with a 68, the same mark as No.2 ranked Justin Thomas, who went one better with a 67.

Tony Finau was unable to build on his first day heroics, but a two-over 74 left him in a group at two-under-par 142 which included Rickie Fowler.

Finau dislocated his ankle as he celebrated a hole-in-one in the par-3 contest and has been battling the discomfort in some style.

“I could barely walk yesterday morning,” he admitted.

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