Smith's frustrating two-over-par 74 featured errant drives, a penalty stroke, three putts and a succession of other painful near misses on golf's most treacherous greens.

But two desperately needed birdies down the stretch at least dragged Australia's World No.6 back into red figures at two-under after his green jacket hopes threatened to disintegrate.

After ending day one in second one back of leader Sungjae Im, Smith dropped three shots on the front nine, then another with a shocking three-putt on the famous par-3 12th on Amen Corner.

But he regrouped with some laser approaches on his last four holes, making birdies on 15 and 18 but unable to convert from short range on 16 and 17.

RIGHT: Adam Scott managed to make the weekend after a disastrous triple bogey.PHOTO: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

"I feel as though I hit lots of really quality shots into the green and just really didn't have any birdie opportunities," Smith said.

"It was so windy and gusty out there, quite hard to get the speed on the greens as well.

"Two-over in the end. Probably wasn't the worst."

Smith will enter the weekend in a tie for sixth, six shots off the pace and hoping to hunt down runaway leader Scottie Scheffler, who lived up to his new-found World No.1 ranking to seize control.

Making light of the brutal conditions, Scheffler surged to eight-under and a five-stroke lead over the field with a five-under 67, the joint low round of the day with fellow American Justin Thomas.

Four other Australians joined Smith in making the halfway cut – former champion Adam Scott (74), Marc Leishman (75) and Masters rookies Min Woo Lee (75) and Cam Davis (73).

All four are four-over for the tournament and a dozen shots adrift of Scheffler.

Scott's dreams of capturing a second green jacket all but evaporated on the 15th hole when his approach spun back gut-wrenchingly into the water.

The shellshocked former World No.1 then three-putted to walk off with a disastrous triple-bogey eight.

"It was so windy and gusty out there, quite hard to get the speed on the greens as well. Two-over in the end. Probably wasn't the worst." - Cam Smith.

Scott made up one of those shots with a birdie at the 16th, then bogeyed 17 and made a nerveless sand save on the last to extend his run of Masters cut made to 13, the second longest streak behind Tiger Woods' 22 straight cuts.

Davis looked no hope of surviving after tumbling to eight-over through 11 holes but finished with a flurry with four birdies in his last six holes in a steely fightback from the debutant.

Lee birdied the 16th to also earn himself a weekend tee time in his first Masters.

Leishman lamented a forgettable day with the putter, unable to sink anything beyond a metre.

"Putting's difficult, everything's difficult to be honest," he said of the treacherous conditions.

Lucas Herbert carded a 76 to slip to six over and miss the cut in his maiden Masters.