Steady Westwood leads the way

Lee Westwood, of England, hits off the first fairway during the second round the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 6, 2012, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Lee Westwood, of England, hits off the first fairway during the second round the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 6, 2012, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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Lee Westwood remained the man to catch after starting his second round with five straight pars in The Masters at Augusta today - but he was having to work hard to stay out in front.

England’s world number three missed only two fairways in his opening five-under-par 67, but he was off-line on the first and second holes on his return in cooler and windier conditions.

Westwood’s opening drive narrowly avoided the fairway bunker on the right and he took advantage by hitting his approach to seven feet, but missed the putt.

On the long second he went left this time - into the trees and not far from a creek which South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, joint second overnight, had found earlier in the day.

The 2010 Open champion took a double bogey seven, but Westwood ended up having an 18-foot birdie chance.

He failed to hole that, though, and a 15-foot opportunity on the third went begging too.

The 38-year-old, runner-up to Phil Mickelson two years ago, remained five under par and was caught when American Jason Dufner birdied the second and third.

However Dufner, the player who led the USPGA Championship by five shots entering the closing stretch last August before losing a play-off to compatriot Keegan Bradley, followed those two birdies with a double bogey at the short fourth.

Swede Peter Hanson had matched Oosthuizen’s first-day 68 but he set off again with a double-bogey six and that left Dufner and Ben Crane sharing second place on four under.

Ian Poulter’s birdies at the second and fifth lifted him to two under and joint 10th, while Rory McIlroy became part of that group as well when he birdied the 350-yard third.

Compatriot Graeme McDowell remained three over after parring every hole on the front nine, while Scot Martin Laird was on the same mark with five to play, Paul Casey five over after six, Simon Dyson seven over after 12, Ian Woosnam eight over at the turn and Sandy Lyle - clear last after an opening 86 - 20 over with six holes remaining.

Westwood also parred the 180-yard sixth and had three players right on his heels as Hanson hit back with birdies on two and three to join Dufner and Crane on four under.

McIlroy, who started the tournament with a double bogey, was only two behind when he also birdied the short fourth. That was four birdies in his last six holes and he was up to joint fifth.

It increased the mouth-watering possibility of a weekend clash between him and Westwood - former stablemates and, by common consent, fierce rivals.

Poulter lost ground, though, when his approach to the 10th rolled off the front and he missed a nine-foot par putt. He was four back as a result.

Westwood had to settle for par at the long eighth as well and was joined for the second time in the day.

This time it was Hanson alongside him. He made it three birdies in a row at the fifth.

With Paul Lawrie picking up a shot on the third and Dufner and Crane both having bogeys it was a European 1-2-3 at the top - and McIlroy was in joint fourth after six holes.

Lawrie’s fellow Scot Laird hit a four-iron to four feet for a closing birdie. He had mixed five birdies with five bogeys, though, and with a 72 for four over had to wait to see if he survived the halfway cut under the rule that puts through all those 10 shots or fewer off the lead.

“I think I might be one too many,” he said, cursing four three-putts and also mud on his ball on the 17th fairway, which left to the last of his bogeys.