Adam Scott admitted patience and experience were crucial as he fought back after a stuttering start to keep his title defence on track at Augusta.
After starting with a virtually flawless 69, the Australian found the going much tougher in the opening stages of his second round on Friday with three early bogeys quickly dropping him back to level-par.
But Scott would launch a fightback around Amen Corner with birdies at 12 & 13 and also took advantage of the par-five 15th to ensure he is only four back of halfway leader Bubba Watson.
"It was very difficult out there today," Scott said afterwards. "Anything even par or better at a major is normally a good score, especially today.
"It kept me in the tournament. I was certainly aware of 10, 11 and 12 playing difficult and knew that I had to start hitting some quality shots.
"But I hit two really quality shots on the ninth that felt like the best swings I had made to that point. I wanted to keep that feeling for the back nine. I played a really good back nine. It was really solid.
"There's no doubt I'm a much more patient player the last few years. As I made a few bogeys, I remembered I did last year on Friday on the front nine as well.
"I shot 39-33, I believe, last year, just like this. It doesn't mean just because you did it last year you're going to do it again, but there's always opportunities to hit good shots on the back nine.
"And I felt it was so important to get through 10, 11, and 12 without dropping another shot, so I could get to 13 and 15 and maybe create some chances for eagle or at least have good looks at birdie."
Scott maintained his momentum with a scrambling par at the last but, whilst satisfied with his efforts, admitted he was targeting a big push on ‘Moving Day’.
"Fortunate par, maybe, at the last, but you got to take advantage of a bit of luck out of the trees," he added.
"It (72) wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but given everything, I'm absolutely satisfied with that. It just means tomorrow's round's extremely important for me. It's going to have to be maybe the best round of the week."