Rory McIlroy picked up two birdies in the first three holes to close in on leader Jordan Spieth during the early stages of the second round at the Masters.
Spieth was the class of the field on the opening day and retained a two-shot advantage at six under as he prepared to return to action at 12:55pm local time (5:55pm BST).
However, four-time major winner McIlroy, who bogeyed the 16th and 18th in a disappointing finish to his first round, was among the reigning champion's closest rivals after birdieing the second and third on Friday.
World number one Jason Day was unable to improve his position as significantly as he would have hoped, after collapsing from five under par to level par over Thursday's closing holes.
After bogeying the first, Day prompted concern over his physical condition when he lay on the fairway at the second to stretch out his troublesome back, although he was still able to make a birdie.
Day picked up another shot at the fifth, but still appeared short of his best form and had to work hard to save pars at the next two holes.
Danny Lee birdied the second to briefly get within one of Spieth, only to double bogey the third. A gain on five took the New Zealander back to his overnight score of four under.
Also on that mark was Scott Piercy, but Shane Lowry bogeyed the first and second to drop four off the pace.
American Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III was going along nicely, three successive birdies from the third lifting the veteran to two under.
Two-time champion Bubba Watson was in danger of missing the cut at the Masters for the first time, having slumped to three over for the day and six over for the tournament through nine.