Tiger Woods escapes injury to get into Masters mix

Tiger Woods celebrates after making a putt for birdie on the 15th green at Augusta National. Picture: Gegtty Images
Tiger Woods celebrates after making a putt for birdie on the 15th green at Augusta National. Picture: Gegtty Images
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Tiger Woods roared into contention for a fifth Masters victory after narrowly escaping a title-threatening injury during a dramatic second round at Augusta National.

After playing his shot from off the fairway at the 14th, the 43-year-old was almost taken out by a security officer as he slipped on the wet grass after running in to keep the spectators back.

He caught Woods on the ankle, leaving him to hobble away, but the 14-time major winner was uninjured.

Indeed, he birdied that hole on his way to a 68, which left him in the mix heading into the final two rounds in the season’s opening major.

“It was one of those accidents that happen,” said Woods afterwards, insisting that he had come out of it unscathed.

The former world No 1, who last won this event in 2005 and last won a major in 2008, mixed three birdies with two bogeys as he reached the turn in 35.

He then raised the biggest roar of the week so far by making the only birdie of the day at the 11th and had the bit between his teeth as he then hit a great tee shot at the par-3 12th.

Before getting the chance to convert that golden opportunity, play was suspended for just over half an hour due to the threat of lightning.

When the action resumed, Woods missed his putt but made quickly made amends by making birdies at both the 14th and 15th.

He went on to card a four-under effort for a six-under total, leaving him just one shot off the lead heading into the final two rounds in the season’s opening major.

“It was fun. I played solid out there today,” added Woods. “I was patient. I hung in there, grinding it out.”

Asked about his chances heading into the weekend, he said: “In the last three majors, I’ve been right in the mix.

“I led in the British Open (at Carnoustie) on the back nine the challenged Brooks [Koepka] in the US PGA and, all of a sudden, here I am at The Masters.”

Rory McIlroy’s hopes of completing a career grand slam at the fifth attempt look slim after a second-round after an up-and-down 71 for a level-par total left him seven shots off the lead.

“It’s been an up and down 36 holes for sure,” said McIlroy, who eagled the par-5 eighth but then dumped his second shot into the creek at the 13th and ran up a bogey-6.

“I’m happy to be where I’m at, especially having to get up and down from 180 yards on the 15th to make par.

“To play the last four in one under to be safe for the weekend - well, I was staring bogey in the face at 15 and thinking I have to play the last three in even par to make the cut.

“To be here for the weekend and only seven back, I’m actually pretty pleased.”