New Zealand

Australians Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith power into contention at PGA Masters Tournament

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Marc Leishman has reinvigorated hopes of a Masters green jacket heading down under after leader Justin Rose opened the door during the second round.

Rose defied tough conditions in the opening round with a career-best seven-under 65 at Augusta National but the 40-year-old was looking shaky after dropping three shots in his opening seven holes on Friday.

The two-time Masters runner-up was able to rebound with three late birdies to post an even-par 72, holding the clubhouse lead at seven under.

But his four-shot overnight buffer was down to just one with Americans Will Zalatoris (68) and Brian Harman (69) tied for second.

Australian Leishman posted a very tidy five-under 67 to be just two shots back of Rose.

“I couldn’t be more excited. This is why I came here. This is the position I wanted to be in,” Leishman said.

“My game’s finally feeling good. It’s the Masters so I’m excited for the next two days, but there’s a lot of good shots that have to be hit and a lot of good putts made to give myself a chance going into the back nine on Sunday.

“Hopefully, I can have a good day tomorrow and put myself in that position.”

Cameron Smith, of Australia, watches his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament.(

AP: David J. Phillip

)

Also lurking ominously was three-time major winner and 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth, posting a 68 to join Leishman at five under in a share of fourth.

Spieth is a last start winner at the Texas Open, a result that broke a near four-year drought for the Texan.

Leishman, who had four birdies in his first six holes on Thursday before giving them all back, shot out of the blocks with three birdies in a row in the second round.

He moved to four-under on the day with a birdie at the 13th and shared the lead with another birdie on the 15th until Rose pushed back late with the Englishman making birdies at the 13th, 14th and 16th.

Cameron Smith carded a three-under 69 to be two under, to maintain his goal of going one better than his runner-up result in November.

Justin Rose, of England, smiles after putting on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters golf tournament.
Justin Rose, of England, smiles after putting on the 18th green during the second round.(

AP: Gregory Bull

)

It was rocks and diamonds for Smith who got his score to five-under with an eagle on the 13th but leaked three shots coming home with a double-bogey on the 15th after a water ball.

A three-under 69 ensure Matt Jones made his first Masters cut at one under while Adam Scott (73) was three-over, to be on the cut line.

Jason Day is nine over late in his round and will miss the cut.

AAP

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