Leishman learned from 2014 collapse after lightning second-round start

The memories of a poor second-round performance in 2014 were at the forefront of Marc Leishman's mind in round two of the Masters.

Marc Leishman at Augusta   -  Getty Images

Marc Leishman admitted the memories of his painful 2014 collapse were on his mind following his lightning start to round two of the Masters on Friday.

The Australian birdied the opening three holes before going on to sign for a five-under-par 67, which left him second and trailing leader Patrick Reed by just two shots on seven under for the tournament.

It was a start reminiscent to Leishman's second round at Augusta four years ago where he also birdied the opening three holes, before dropping 10 shots in the following 12.

Asked if that was on his mind, Leishman replied: "Yes.

"That year, I think I bogeyed four and possibly five and then I started pushing to try and get them back.  You can't do that around here, especially when the greens are as quick as they are.  

"You can never switch off here and I think I switched off a little bit that day, unfortunately, but I learned a lot from it, which is probably more important."

Leishman played the first two rounds this year alongside Tiger Woods, but he says personal difficulties off the course – which included a 2015 withdrawal from Augusta after his wife fell seriously ill – help him to cope with pressures on it, like those of playing in front of the huge crowds that follow the 14-time major champion.

"I'm always pretty relaxed I think," he added. "I've obviously been through a lot off the course, and I feel like that helps me on the course.

"This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world, if not the biggest.  One that I probably want to win the most, along with the other three majors. 

"At the end of the day, it's a game of golf, and that's how I try and look at it, just as a game of golf."

Henrik Stenson is alone in third behind Reed and Leishman, having signed for a round of 70 to sit at five under for the tournament.

The Swede spoke of the difficulty of mastering the Augusta winds but is expecting an even tougher weekend, with rain and stronger gusts forecast.

"It's hard just staying patient normally but I was getting a little upset with myself not hitting the shots that I wanted," Stenson said. 

"I guess I gave myself a little kick in the butt there on 14 and that seemed to help because I finished with a couple of birdies coming in.  

"So, it could be a grind, tough weather conditions forecasted and this golf course is not going to give you any more margins just because the weather is bad."