Robert MacIntyre shot a two-under 70 and Martin Laird a 71 to secure place for the weekend at Augusta and stay within sight of the halfway lead at the Masters.
The two Scots, both out in the early morning on the second day, made the most of fine conditions. It was a still tricky and fast-running Augusta National course, but both Scots moved up from two-over par overnight.
MacIntyre, in his debut at the tournament, made a superb recovery on the back nine. He played the last seven holes in three-under par to get back to level par for the tournament. That put the 24-year-old left hander from Oban inside the top 20.
Laird reached one-under at one point with his second birdie in two days at the short 16th, but closing bogeys at the two final holes dropped him back. The 38-year-old, originally from Glasgow, is playing his fourth Masters but his first since 2013.
‘I’m going to have a chance over the weekend’
MacIntyre admitted he was shaking with nerves on the first day, but he was all business on the second.
“I wasn’t worried today about anything other than getting back in the golf tournament. That’s what I went and done,” he said.
“I’m going to have a chance over the weekend if I can post a good one tomorrow.”
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 9, 2021
Wearing a black ribbon in memory of the late Scottish golf writer Jock MacVicar, MacIntyre started well with a birdie at the short par four third. But back to back bogeys followed at six and seven and there was a chance he might be derailed.
However he a pitch to three feet at the long eighth to get back to his starting point, and although he dropped a shot at 11 after missing the green left, the fun was just about to start.
At the famous short 12th, MacIntyre’s tee shot was within eight feet. He holed the putt for a bonus knowing the two par fives were to come.
Sure enough he was on in two at the 13th and had an outside look at eagle, but a four did the trick to take him to one-over for the tournament.
A brilliant birdie off the ‘pinestraw’
The best was to come at 14, after a poor drive scattered the few patrons about up the left. He had 180 yards left with trees in the way, off Augusta’s famous “pinestraw”.
Yet the left-hander hit a magnificent shot, left to right over the trees and caught the downslope of the green. The ball caught the slopes and rolled down to ten feet, which he holed for a brilliant three.
A drive too far left cost him the chance at birdie at 15. Then he just missed a long 50-foot birdie putt at the short 16th. But it was solid pars at 17 and 18 – the last coming out of the front greenside bunker to six feet – to set himself for the weekend at level par.
Laird makes the cut for the third time at Augusta
Laird was playing at the top of the field with former champion Vijay Singh. Although he made an early birdie at the second, a three-putt followed at the fifth. Missing the green at the short sixth meant back-to-back bogeys.
But the a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, who has former Alyth player and Scottish Amateur champion Kevin McAlpine on his bag, got a stroke back at the long eighth. He went on birdie both the par fives on the back nine to reach the 16th.
Back to back bogeys, but still well placed
There he caught the slope with his tee shot and was left 40 feet away, but he made the putt up the hill for a birdie two to be one-under. The lead in the tournament at the time had come back to four-under.
However Laird three-putted 17 from 25 feet and had to come out backwards from the trees after a wayward drive. A bogey five was as good as he could do and a 71 was the result.
That was easily good enough to make the weekend, for the third time in his four Masters attempts.