Justin Rose had to concede he was close to pushing the panic button as his overnight lead slipped away at the 85th Masters – but he responded superbly to recover and end up clawing his way back to the top.
Rose saw his four-shot overnight lead wiped out as he covered his opening 12 holes in three-over par, but he birdied the 13th, 14th and 16th to add a 72 to his stunning opening 65 and sit at seven under.
"The finger was getting closer to the button," joked the former US Open champion, who said not panicking after being two over through seven holes of his first round had been the key to Thursday's heroics.
"It was a tough start today. Poor tee shot on number one and had to chip out sideways, and then from that moment on, for the first six or seven holes I just kept leaving the ball on the greens but in really tough spots.
"I felt like I really hung in well and weathered that period of the round. Just little things were going wrong but didn't hit the panic button and really pleased to turn it around.
"I felt like I really hung in well and weathered that period of the round. Just little things were going wrong but didn't hit the panic button and really pleased to turn it around." – Justin Rose
"Made some great swings I felt round Amen Corner and hit a really aggressive tee shot on 13 and felt that was a good turning point for me today."
Only one player in tournament history had enjoyed a bigger lead after 18 holes than Rose, but the 40-year-old was well aware of the difficulty in following one great round with another.
"I've been doing this a long time. Very rarely do you put a great round of golf together like I did yesterday and you back it up with an even more incredible round," he added.
"There's going to be situations on the weekend where I probably face little mini crises out there and that's what you have to go through to win a major tournament – you don't just skip round the golf course for 72 holes.
"I'm fully expecting to face that a couple more times this week and just to keep battling through it."
- Phil Casey, PAA
- Phil Casey, PAA