When you’ve produced a show-stopping performance, what do you do for an encore? Justin Rose’s riveting 65 on day one at Augusta was always going to be a hard act to follow. 

It was a rip-roaring display that would’ve prompted a standing ovation at Live from Her Majesty’s, let alone The Masters.

What those golfing gods giveth, though, they can easily taketh away. Twas ever thus in this fickle old game. Rose’s rousing surge to the line during the first round had given him the kind of sizeable cushion you’d get in a Bedouin tent.

In fact, he was holding the joint-largest first round lead seen at a major for 75 years.

Rose wasn’t sitting so comfortably during round two yesterday but, as his four-shot overnight lead slowly eroded, the Englishman showed terrific composure, resolve and craft to winkle out a gritty level-par score.

If Thursday’s round was spectacular, then this one was just as impressive in terms of salvage. Having limped through his opening seven holes in three-over, which left those hunting him circling like vultures, Rose, with two second place finishes in The Masters, drew on all his experience and Augusta nous.

Three birdies on the run-in, at 13, 14 and 16, saw him sign for a 72 that could so easily have dribbled into the damaging realms of a 76 or worse. At seven-under, exactly where he started the day, the 40-year-old had consolidated his lofty position as round two unraveled. It was a fine example of keeping the heid on a day which saw the defending champion, Dustin Johnson, and an out-of-sorts Rory McIlroy miss the cut.

"The finger was moving towards the panic button,” he said with a wry grin as he reflected on that shoogly start. “But I hung in well and weathered that part of the round. Rarely do you put together a great round like Thursday and back it up with another the following day. You don’t skip round here for 72-holes. There will be some mini-crises and I expect to face them again.”

As Rose toiled in the early stages – a leaked drive on the first which led to him chipping out sideways set the tone – it was Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger who was at the vanguard of the initial assault from the invasion force with a 66 for a four-under aggregate.

The canny 35-year-old, with seven European Tour wins to his name, has a decent body of work at Augusta and has never missed the cut in five previous appearances.

When he birdied four of his first five holes, his progress was as classy as a performance by the Vienna Philharmonic. By the time he had picked up another birdie on the 15th, he was sharing the lead until Rose went on a late burst.

“I tried to follow up what Justin did,” said Wiesberger, referring to Rose’s opening 65. “I got into good positions to attack the flags.”

Wiesberger’s 66 was matched by the charging Tony Finau, who eagled his second and then birdied the sixth, eighth, ninth and 10th during a terrific thrust. The bogey on the 18th was something of an anti-climax but, after an opening 74, he was right back in the thick of it on four-under

Justin Thomas also leaked a three-putt shot on the last but his 67, burnished by a birdie blitz around Amen Corner, got him into the upper echelons on the four-under mark. There was the obvious regret, of course, for the shot that got away. “To say I'm mad for three-putting the 18th is an understatement,” the world No 2 grumbled. “It is a birdie putt I'm looking to make and I three-putted.”

The thoroughbreds were gathering like the starting line at the Grand National but Will Zalatoris, a late entry into the tournament, came sneaking up on the rails with three birdies to finish in a 67 to lurk just a shot off the clubhouse lead.

Back to the form horses and Jordan Spieth’s menacing advances underlined his continued resurgence. The 2015 champion, fresh from a much-needed victory in Texas last weekend, finished strongly and got home and hosed with a 68 for a five-under total.

“A good last six holes,” he said. “And I’m in position for the last 36-holes.”

Spieth was joined on five-under by Australia’s Marc Leishman, that steady campaigner who continues to knock on the door of a major breakthrough. Three birdies to start with had him off and running and the 37-year-old, who shared fourth at Augusta in 2013, ended with a sturdy 67.

Did you know Leishman won the Tennant Cup at Glasgow Golf Club as an amateur many moons ago? Of course you did. It gets brought up every time he’s in the major hunt by us Scottish golf writers.

This particular major hunt, meanwhile, will have few more twists and turns yet.