Finau rockets into Masters lead with blistering front nine

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Woods had played a sublime recovery shot from the pine straw immediately prior to that incident and duly converted his resulting birdie putt before picking up another shot at the 15th to get to six under.

There's a reason there's no running at Augusta National: you might just take out a four-time champion.

However, one security guard failed to take into account the slippery conditions, and slid into Woods, effecting a sliding tackle more commonly seen on the football field than the golf course.

Tiger Woods had just hit a brilliant shot from the trees on the 14th hole, setting up a birdie putt that would pull him squarely in contention for his first Masters title since 2005.

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With Italy's Francesco Molinari, South African Louis Oosthuizen, American Brooks Koepka and Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott - major winners all - sharing the overnight lead and Tiger Woods lurking one shot back, a massive crowd filed into Augusta National expecting an extraordinary day's action.

"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.

But after producing a miracle recovery shot to find the green, Woods was almost taken out in sensational fashion by a security guard who slid in, after slipping on the mud caused by earlier rain while rushing to protect the superstar.

The 29-year-old was eight shots off the lead as he signed his card, but low scores were the order of the day and the four-time major victor was certain to be too far back to mount a challenge on Sunday. "Accidents happen, and we move on".

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His five putts made from beyond 20 feet over two days are two more than any rival. After a flawless opening round, Koepka had two bogeys and a double in his first six holes on Friday but the twice U.S. Open champion was able to regain his composure, steadying himself with six straight pars from the ninth.

"It was a solid day off the tee, hit the ball well", Molinari said.

As rain lashed Augusta, severe weather forced a 40-minute delay, after which Scott returned to fire a 231-yard second shot onto the green at the par-five hole.

The man - yet to be identified - did hit Woods on his right foot, leading the 14-time major victor to jump in the air several times before limping back to the fairway.

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World number one Justin Rose missed the cut for the first time in 14 Augusta appearances at 148 after a second-round 73.