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


Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith have reinvigorated hopes of a Masters green jacket heading to Australia after English leader Justin Rose opened the door midway through the second round.

Rose had 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 losing 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 that left him at seven-under with the clubhouse lead.

But his four-shot overnight buffer was eroded, as Leishman posted a very tidy five-under 67 to be just two shots back in second place.

Queenslander Smith, who was runner up last year, was flying up the leaderboard even before he nailed an eagle on the par-five 13th.

His 200-yard approach shot was a beauty, stopping a metre from the hole.

A bogey on the 14th, however, leaves Smith at four-under for the tournament — three back.

That was good enough for third place, tied with a raft of big names including Justin Thomas (14 holes), Tony Finau (14 holes), Si Woo Kim (nine holes), Brian Harman (nine holes) and Austrian Berndt Wiesberger, who shot 66 in the morning wave.

Cameron Smith
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

)

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

He moved to four-under on the day with a birdie at the 13th and held part of the lead with another birdie on the 15th until Rose pushed back late.

“It’s great to get back in the mix. It is why I’m here, to compete and hopefully to win.” Leishman said.

Rose started with a wild tee shot on the first that ultimately led to a bogey and while he clawed the shot back with birdie on the par-five second, he made errors on the par-three fourth and sixth holes that led to further bogeys.

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

)

On the fourth, he failed to get his second shot on the putting surface, while on the sixth his long birdie putt failed to climb a slope and returned back to his feet.

He then made a mess of the par-four seventh as well before birdies on 13, 14 and 16 saved his round.

Former champion Jordan Spieth sits at three-under through 14 holes.

Meanwhile, Matt Jones (even, through 13), Adam Scott (+3, through 15) and Jason Day (+7, through seven) round out the Australian tilt.

AAP



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