AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There are all sorts of ways to get around Augusta National Golf Club. Tame it with power, coax it with a good short game or conquer it with knowledge. Occasionally, someone even can subdue it by meeting it eye-to-eye, one old-timer to another.

"Can I win? I believe I can, yes," the venerable Fred Couples, 52, said after he shot 5-under-par 67 Friday on the venerable course and tied Jason Dufner for the lead at 5 under overall through two rounds of the Masters.

Having the name Couples at the top of the leader board might seem like a 1992 flashback, except that Rory McIlroy, one of five tied for second at 4 under, was only 2 years old at the time. "It's great to see him up there. It just adds a little more spice to the weekend," said McIlroy, who shot 69 and was even with Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Bubba Watson.

That is a noteworthy group of players who have either won majors or come close. It doesn't even count Phil Mickelson, who shot an inspired 68 Friday to get to 2 under. But no one stood out more than Couples, who has made this a senior golfer's rite of spring.

Two years ago, he was the Masters first-round leader with a 66. Last year, he shot 68 in the second round to get into contention at 5 under, five strokes behind McIlroy. This time, Couples became the oldest second-round leader in the tournament's 76-year history and the oldest leader after any round since Jack Nicklaus was the first-round pacesetter at age 53 in 1993.

"I feel like I'm very young when I get here," Couples said. "You know, I've said it for 28 years: This is my favorite golf tournament in the world. I think everyone gets so excited to come here. It's the first major. It's Augusta. The course is beautiful. I feel like I just really, really enjoy playing here."

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It shows in that he has the best career scoring average at the Masters. He continued that trend despite having bogeyed the first hole on a gray, windy, cold Friday morning. He never made another bogey after the sixth, and birdied five of the final 12 holes -- converting a few times when he knocked it close, and sinking 35- and 25-footers on Nos. 9 and 15, respectively.

It wasn't easy out there, witnessed by Tiger Woods' 75 in which he dropped and kicked his 9-iron after a poor tee shot on the 16th.

Dufner occasionally struggled, such as the chunked and bunkered pitch that led to a double-bogey 5 on the fourth hole. Mostly, though, he was poised and effective.

Dufner, who lost a late lead at the PGA Championship last August, does not have the suave manner of Couples. He appears a bit rough around the edges, right down to his exaggerated wristy waggle before a swing. But his game is solid and his temperament is even.

"There's a lot more going on out there than it appears," said Dufner, a friend of fellow Auburn alumnus Charles Barkley. "I feel like I have the same emotions and same thought processes as a lot of guys, but I seem to not show it."

Dufner is different from the outspoken Barkley. It is no surprise that Dufner and Couples took different routes to the final group.

As McIlroy said: "There's a lot of different ways to get the ball around the golf course. That's Augusta in a nutshell."