Sergio Garcia shows he's matured enough to contend in majors

"I probably didn't accept things as well as I should have (that day)", Garcia said.

Defending champ Danny Willett and Bubba Watson were among the notables who missed the cut. He later cut into Hoffman's lead further with a birdie on the 15th hole. It also left him at even par for the tournament and brought the 2015 champion within striking distance of the lead.

The 37-year-old Garcia is among the golfers tagged with the dreaded title as the game's greatest never to win a major.

Rory McIlroy's day ended on a disappointing note this evening in Augusta as he made five on the 18th to finish his round one over-par.

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"If I get the putter going, grab a couple birdies early, I'll feed off a bit of crowd momentum and it will be a fun day".

Yet the pressure on him has assumed a peculiar intensity, in part because of his collapse here in 2011, when he led for three rounds but finished tied for 15th after shooting an 80 on the Sunday. He eagled 2 and birdied 3, and he said that hot start gave him a little bit of cushion heading into the more hard holes ahead of him. "These things happen, I just have to go out and birdie the first tomorrow and it'll all be forgotten".

One of the Masters' most popular past champions is back in contention at Augusta National.

The two are trying to chase down the four co-leaders in Sergio Garcia, Charley Hoffman, Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler.

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The 40-year-old American had an otherwise solid round with two birdies and no bogeys across the other 12 holes.

"I don't think I'm going to get tentative with the putter on the weekend this year", he said. He was third in 2012 after 36 holes, only to shoot 75 Saturday and go on a tirade. Garcia was playing in the group right behind Hoffman, and surely Hoffman knew his lead was dwindling by the minute, at least until Garcia bogeyed the 10th hole.

However, it transpired that the scorer had mistaken Garcia for playing partner Shane Lowry due to the similar clothes they were wearing, with Lowry taking a double-bogey six following a lost ball. He had five birdies in his first 10 holes Friday to move in front at 5 under. Certainly, he's no longer a vivacious teenager bounding up the fairway after pulling off a remarkable shot from behind a tree at Medinah, a runner-up to Woods in a memorable PGA Championship that everyone figured was a mere delaying of the inevitable. A year ago, Ernie Els took six putts from 2 feet in making a 9.

Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, a U.S. left-hander who would become the oldest victor in Masters history two months before his 47th birthday by taking his fourth green jacket, was on one-under with 13 holes remaining. He has become identified by his failure to have won a major championship. Mickelson was one shot behind until he sputtered down the stretch with three bogeys and two par saves over his last five holes for a 73. His four-shot lead over McGirt is the largest at Augusta National after the opening round in 62 years.

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