Jordan Spieth labelled his play “brain-dead” after almost blowing his chances of a second Masters title.
Spieth held a two-shot overnight lead at Augusta National, but saw that disappear with a double-bogey on the opening hole of his second round and further dropped shots on the second and seventh.
The three-time major winner failed to record a birdie on the front nine for the first time in his career as he struggled to the turn in 40, but fought back to shoot 74 and join Rory McIlroy in the clubhouse on four under par.
“The first few holes I just hit it everywhere you can’t hit it,” said Spieth, who had led or shared the lead after nine of his previous 17 rounds in the Masters.
“I got a little brain-dead to start but to still be in the tournament after two rounds, would I have taken being in this position three or four weeks ago? Absolutely. The wheels could have come off but I made a great par save on the ninth to be able to go to the back nine with some momentum.”
Spieth led from start to finish in 2015 and for 54 holes in defence of his title the following year, only to squander a five-shot lead with nine holes to play.
“I’ve taken a lot of punches on this golf course and I told Michael (Greller, his caddie) that I’m good for a double bogey or some bogeys here, so let’s make these the only ones,” the 24-year-old added.
“To not be in the lead could bode well for me, allow me to go after some pins to get some shorter looks at birdie.”
Follow the Independent Sport on Instagram here, for all of the best images, videos and stories from around the sporting world.