Despite missing two birdie chances inside 8 feet on the back nine, he holed consecutive 30-foot birdie putts for a 4-under 68. "And that's what I want to focus on and I know that I'm playing well enough".
Dustin Johnson (70) and Justin Harding (69) were a shot behind at 6-under, alongside four-time Masters victor Woods, who is sitting ominously just behind the leaders as he hunts a first major since the 2008 US Open.
Woods had just recorded the first birdie of the day on the daunting 11th hole and fired a superb tee shot to five feet on the 12th when the siren sounded to suspend play due to the threat of lightning at Augusta National.
That left him just shy of the biggest co-leader pack ever after 36 holes at the Masters, the five one more than in 2017 and 1973 - each time the eventual victor coming from the top foursome.
Woods returned from spinal fusion surgery last year and contended at the British Open and PGA Championship then snapped a five-year US PGA Tour win drought at the Tour Championship and stretched his comeback story again Friday with no health issues after great play on one of golf's biggest stages. The shot was pure, hooking around the pines to the green.
One of those big birdies followed a weird moment on the 14th hole.
He managed to keep his balance, winced, hobbled and flexed his ankle repeatedly when he made it to the fairway. "Accidents happen. We move on".
Nine players were separated by one shot, a group that includes seven major winners and five former No. 1-ranked golfers.
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Tiger Woods is three shots ahead of McIlroy at two under par ahead of the second day's play. But he made it up for them with a couple of long birdie putts, and he had no complaints with his position.
Day said he had his chiropractor working tirelessly on his back on Thursday night and Friday morning to get him ready to play through the injury.
"That's what I'm gonna do today, hit bombs and attack the pin here at the Masters" Mickelson said.
"Three [majors] in a row, I've been right in the mix", Woods added, building on his second place at last year's PGA Championships.
Mickelson stumbled to a 73 but still was only three shots behind.
DeChambeau tumbled from a share of first down to tied 16th courtesy of a 75, but Jordan Spieth enjoyed a more positive day, shooting 68 to get to one under for the week.
But since then he has shown more than a glimmer of his once-spellbinding form, and has placed himself firmly in contention with a commanding 68 in his second round to remain a shot behind the leaders at 6-under par.
As for Rory McIlroy, the career Grand Slam might need to wait another year. He turned in a bogey-free round that includes six birdies and an eagle at No. 8, giving him a one-stroke lead when he left the course. He was only seven shots behind, but he had 35 players in front of him.