Reigning British Open champion Francesco Molinari had five birdies in his five-under par 67 to join the leading group on seven-under 137 on a rainy day at Augusta National.
Brooks Koepka, winner of a second straight US Open title and the PGA Championship last year, carded a one-under 71. Jason Day, who won the 2015 PGA Championship, signed for a 67 and fellow Australian Adam Scott, winner of the Masters in 2013 posted a 68. South Africa's Louis Oostuizen the 2010 British Open winner, carded a six-under 66 to join the leading group before Woods nearly upstaged them all.
Woods, who won the most recent of his four Masters titles back in 2005, had six birdies in a four-under 68 to head a quartet on six-under 138 that also included former US Open champion Dustin Johnson, South African Justin Harding and American Xander Schauffele.
Woods hit a breathtaking recovery shot through the trees on the way to a birdie at 14 and rolled in a 30-footer for birdie at 15. But his seven-foot birdie try at 17 wouldn't drop, nor would a 14-footer at 18 that would have seen him join the leading group.
The five-way tie at the top breaks the record for most so share the Masters lead through 36 holes. Four players shared the lead at the halfway stage in both 1973 and 2017 -- and in both years that group produced the eventual winner.