RATHER like Deadly Nightshade, Augusta National can be lovely to look at but fatal.

The second round of the 86th Masters would have the potential to deal a terminal blow to some of those chasing glory in this neck of the golfing woods.

With a swirling, gusting wind adding considerable menace, mischief and misfortune to proceedings, the flustered field were dropping shots quicker than Rishi Sunak’s wife dropped her non-domiciled status.

It was a day for patience, jaw-jutting resolve and mental fortitude. Augusta can mangle the mind let alone the scorecard. Just as man-of-the-moment Tiger Woods was preparing to head off in round two, Charl Schwartzel was putting the finishing touches to a performance of poise, panache and purpose as the South African vaulted into contention and set the early clubhouse standard.

By the time you read this on the auld, finger-blackening medium of newsprint, anything could’ve happened among the later starters last night but Schwartzel’s efforts were certainly worthy of a headline or two.

A three-under 69, for a three-under aggregate, got him home and hosed before conditions got even more demanding. The 2011 Masters champion could get the slippers on, kick back and watch the rest try and surpass it. It was a robust statement of intent.

Tiger’s presence at this week’s showpiece has dunted everybody else into the margins. Having missed his last six cuts coming into the opening men’s major of the year, Schwartzel was so far in the shadows he could’ve been Hank Marvin’s roadie.

He’s picked quite the stage upon which to re-emerge, though. The 37-year-old may not have displayed much form prior to the Masters but, having won here before with that thrilling surge for the line over a decade ago which included four straight birdies to finish, Schwartzel always gets a shot in the arm when he returns to this happy hunting ground.

“I’ve actually been playing well but the results don’t show it,” reasoned Schwartzel of a barren run that may not look dazzling on paper but has still offered him glimpses of optimism. “I think anybody would be happy shooting level par. If you shoot three-under, that's a bonus.

“The bad results didn't really determine how I felt coming in here. I actually took two weeks off and my confidence grew that I could win this tournament because I was starting to hit it very good. I just looked at old footage and it's still there.”

The footage in question was of his win here in 2011. It certainly stirred his senses. “Putting on the green jacket at the end,” he said with a smile when asked what inspired him most about this delve into the archives.

Schwartzel put the tin lid on his bag of five birdies with a delightfully flighted 7-iron which flirted with the hole on the par-3 16th. “I took dead aim,” he added. “The people started getting out their chairs. I thought it might go in.”

It had been a good day at the office. It was a fine shift too for Oban’s Robert MacIntyre, who made a mighty impression last year by finishing in a share of 12th on his Augusta debut and was looking to preserve a splendid record which read seven majors played, seven cuts made. Well, you can make that eight now.

With a typically spirited show of gritty defiance and an abundance of talent, the 25-year-old chiselled out a second consecutive one-over 73 for a two-over total and comfortably qualified for the weekend.

The Oban Pipe Band. which provided the recorded music for his drive along Magnolia Lane the other day, might have to get themselves worked up for another good bla’ come Sunday.

MacIntyre certainly hopes he can make some noise with a skirl of his own over the next couple of days.

“Last year I had no fears, I had no memories, so I could be aggressive, “ he said of that eye-opening debut. “This year I'm a wee bit more defensive. But over the weekend, we can just take the reins off and go at it.”

That increasingly impressive body of work in the majors, meanwhile, is something he is rightly proud of. “You never want to miss a cut in a major,” he added. “Every time you get into a major, you want to make the cut and then try and compete. It's brilliant to know that my game stands up in the toughest of tests against the best players.

“Week in and week out, it might not be there, but the minute we get put under the gun and the high pressure, I just trust myself and I trust the people around me.”

The stakes will be high over the next two days but MacIntyre will hopefully rise to the challenge.