Jordan Spieth carded the lowest halfway total in Masters history to take a massive step closer to a first major title at Augusta National on Friday.
Spieth added a second round of 66 to his opening 64 to post a total of 130, one shot better than the previous best set by Ray Floyd in 1976.
That also equalled the 36-hole record in any major shared by Nick Faldo, Brandt Snedeker and Martin Kaymer, and at 14-under is the lowest 36-hole score in relation to par.
Faldo was 12-under on his way to winning the 1992 Open at Muirfield, with Snedeker and Kaymer 10-under at the 2012 Open and 2014 US Open respectively.
Spieth was runner-up here last year and came into the week having finished first, second, and second in his last three events.
“I have been on my game and coming to a place that I love,” Spieth said. “It’s special to be here and just be in the tournament let alone out front.
“I just need to keep my head down, set a goal for myself. It’s definitely going to be more challenging and I am going to have to be aware of that and be okay with a bogey or two.”
At 14-under-par Spieth was five ahead of fellow American Charley Hoffman, who bogeyed the 18th to card a 68, with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods reduced to the status of also-rans.
Woods was three-under for his round and two-under overall in just his third start of the year, the 14-time major winner having recorded a career-worst 82 in the first and withdrawing through injury after 11 holes of the second.
Woods, 39, who had blamed a poor short game on being caught between two “release patterns”, said: “[I am] very proud of what I’ve done, to be able to dig it out the way I have.
“I was at a pretty low one in my career, but to basically change an entire pattern like that and put it together and put it in a position where I can compete in a major championship like this is something I’m very proud of.”
World No.1 McIlroy was bidding to become the sixth player to complete the career grand slam, but found himself 12 off the pace as he set off and started his second round with a bogey on the first and birdie on the second.
Ernie Els was refusing to give up hope of catching Spieth despite being nine adrift after adding a 72 to his opening 67.
“Jordan is playing unbelievably well and obviously we’re all watching the leaderboard,” Els said. “But we know how far there is to go. Front runners tend to do well here, but there have been some really good comebacks, so it’s a big weekend ahead.
“He’s not thinking about anything right now and that’s a great place to be at. I’d really like to shoot two 67s and see where that leaves me. That’d make me 15-under and that’s about as good as a man can do.
“If it keeps blowing like this and the nerves get going… I don’t want to wish badly on anyone but if he takes his foot off the gas or has a bad break here and there, it really gives you thought of catching him.”