Lee Elder took a tip from his private golf pro, his wife, Rose, and today shot a four-under-par 68 for a 36-hole total of 144, five off the pace.

Elder thus made good his vow that he would make the cut in the Masters the second time around after a disappointing opening round of 76 Thursday.

"Two years ago, in my first Masters appearance, I had 74-78 for 152 and missed the cut," the Washington touring pro said. "It looked like I was going to do it all over again. But I knew I could do better than a 76.

"Rose followed me all 18 holes Thursday and when we got hom - that is to the house we're renting here - she told me I wasn't standing square to the hole on my putts. So we went down to the recreation room and I practiced putting on the carpet. It paid off because Thursday I took 36 putts and today I required only 28."

Elder had two birdies and a bogey on the front for a 35, then came back in 33 when he birdied three of the last five holes. The round could have been even better because he two-putted from eight feet on the 11th hole and from five feet on the 13th. He missed another birdie shot on the 15th when he two-putted from 12 feet.

He started inauspiciously when he pulled his first drive to the left and put his second shot in the trap. But he came out close to the hole for his par. He birdied the par-five second hole when he put a three-wood in a bunker on his second shot, blasted out to within eight feet and made his putt. His lone bogey came on the fifth, when he three-putted.

He birdied the eighth from 10 feet. On the 14th, he put a nine-iron a foot from the hole for his third birdie of the day. He used a seven-iron on the 190-yard 16th over water and put the ball 15 feet away. Again he made good. He birdied the 17th when he put an eight-iron four feet away. He pulled his drive in the left rough on the 18th but recovered with a beautiful five-iron shot 20 feet from the cup. He two-putted for his par.

"This is a great satisfaction for me," Elder said. "The last time I was here in 1975, I had 25 people around - most of them here for the social life. This time, I had only 14 guests but they are all golfers and they made sure I wasn't disturbed or distracted. Maybe there was too much partying last time but not now.

"I told Rose Thursday night that I wouldn't let her down again. I told her I would break 70 today. I guess I was a little surprised myself I made good. It wasn't a boast - it was something I had to do, make the out.