Last year’s US Open winner, Rory McIlroy, a favourite of fans betting on golf, has moved into contention to add the Masters to his list of titles, after firing a 69 in the second round to move to within one shot of joint leaders, Fred Couples and Jason Dufner.
The 52-year-old Couples, who won the tournament 20 years ago, was in solid form on Friday, shooting a 67 while Dufner went round the Augusta course in 70. Also on four-under alongside McIlroy, are Sergio Garcia (68), former Open champion, Louis Oosthuizen (72), Bubba Watson (71), and first-round leader, Lee Westwood (73), who dropped two shots on the 18th.
Couples is the oldest player to lead the Masters at halfway, while Jack Nicklaus is the tournament's oldest ever winner at 46 in 1986.
McIlroy was pleased with his day’s work, saying afterwards: "I drove the ball better than in the first round. That was the big thing. I think the whole round on Thursday was important to me; to not let the start get to me, and those two birdies at the end really gave me some momentum going into Friday. To stay patient and hang in there, I felt like I did that pretty well."
Three-time champion, Phil Mickelson, birdied the last hole for the second day running while Oosthuizen birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to move into contention. However, Oosthuizen’s prowess at Augusta did little to improve his odds in US Open 2012 golf betting; he stands on 50/1.
Garcia is on course to improve on a best finish of tied fourth eight years ago, while Scotland's Paul Lawrie birdied the last three holes to be three-under at the halfway stage. Australian, Jason Day, who was joint-second, last year, was forced to drop out of the tournament after suffering a recurrence of an ankle injury.