Rory McIlroy will go into the final two rounds of the US Masters at Augusta National in tied fourth place, five shots behind new leader Patrick Reed.
McIlroy shot a 1-under-par 71 on Friday to reach 4-under for the tournament and is tied with first-round leader Jordan Spieth, who had to settle for a 74 after an error-ridden start.
The impressive Reed, who is available at 1/12 to win the Green Jacket, splashed nine birdies on his card in a second-round 66 and, at 9-under, leads by two strokes from Marc Leishman. Henrik Stenson fired a 70 to move into solo third on 5-under.
I place a lot of importance on what happened here in 2011.Rory McIlroy
McIlroy had an uncertain start after mixing three bogeys (1, 4 and 6) with two birdies (2 and 3) in the first third of his morning lap but was steady after that.
He picked up back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 before closing with four pars to record his second under par round of the week.
This will be the fourth occasion that the Northern Irishman has gone into the weekend at Augusta National inside the top five. The most famous came in 2011 when he led after 18, 36 and 54 holes before imploding in the final round and finishing tied 15th after an 80 on Sunday.
However, McIlroy, who is 4000/1 to win the tournament, intends to use that experience in a positive way.
"I place a lot of importance on what happened here in 2011," he said. "I feel like it made me a better player, I feel like it made me a better person; it definitely was a character builder. And it took me a while to get over it, but I knew if I looked at the big picture it would serve me well in the long run.
"I don't think I would have had the career I've had so far if it wasn't for that day."
Spieth, meanwhile, said he was happy to recover from his poor start.
"I'm still in this golf tournament," said the 2015 Masters winner. "With the way the back nine was playing today, the wheels could have come off there but I made some nice par saves and was able to grind out some phenomenal second shot iron shots and good two putt birdies."
Spieth is 100/1 to win the US Masters, while and Leishman is 4000/1.
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