The world number one was on the charge late in his round, grabbing a share of the lead and with the Augusta National galleries roaring him on.
He looked certain to take the outright lead on the par-15th hole when he played a near-perfect third shot, when the golfing gods turned against him.
His approach struck the pin, but rather than drop into the hole for an eagle or fall safely for a birdie putt, it ricocheted straight off the flag stick and rolled back across the green into Rae's Creek.
"The sun was in my eyes, so I knew I started the ball on the flag," Woods explained. "I didn't know if I cut it enough, but evidently it was a really good one.
Instead of picking up a shot, Woods was forced to replay the shot and try to salvage a bogey, which he did with a brilliantly executed chip then putt.
"I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back and I took, tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit.
"I felt that that was going to be the right decision to take off four right there. And I did, it worked out perfectly."
Woods dropped another shot with a rare three-putt on the final hole to finish with a 71 to reach the halfway point at three-under par, three behind Australian leader Jason Day.
"I really swung the club well and didn't really get a lot out of this round," he said.
"Granted, these conditions were tough. It was swirling all over the place."
Despite his poor luck, Woods was upbeat about his prospects for the weekend. He has not won the Masters since 2005 but was perfectly placed to make a charge this time.
"There's a long way to go. We got 36 holes and this is a tricky test," he said.
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