What happened on day two at Augusta?
Patrick Reed surged through the field late on Friday afternoon to head into the weekend with the lead – the first of his major career to date.
But it was another tough day of scoring as Augusta National bared its teeth yet again.
Jordan Spieth, the overnight leader, stumbled early on but managed to claw his way back to a four-under total. Indeed, the early starters seemed to have the worst of the conditions, and by the time Tiger Woods teed off in the afternoon wave, he was only four shots behind, as opposed to the seven shots he trailed by at the beginning of the day.
While Woods laboured to a round of 75, it was the afternoon starters that made rapid headway. Reed carded nine birdies to card a 66, closely followed by the superb Marc Leishman, who hit arguably the shot of the tournament so far to set up an eagle at 15 – he’d go on to shoot a 67 to trail by two.
40 yards of hook. ?
The shot of tournament so far. pic.twitter.com/lOJVkFtuSb
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 7, 2018
Rory McIlroy continues to lead the British and Irish charge – his round of 71 leaves him within touching distance. It was also a good day for Justin Rose, as he broke into the top-10 with a two-under-par round of 70.
Tommy Fleetwood, playing alongside Woods and Leishman, posted another solid round of 72, but he’ll need a good weekend to have any chance, while Ian Poulter, Tyrrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Paul Casey all made the cut but aren’t challenging.
Ross Fisher, Danny Willett and Harry Ellis all missed the cut.
The talking points
Could we have asked for a better 36-hole leaderboard? Sure, many wouldn’t have picked Reed to be out in front at this point, but cast your eyes downwards slightly and you’ll see McIlroy, Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas all ready to pounce, as is 2016 Open champion Henrik Stenson.
Mark Townsend and James Savage argue: Is this Rory’s best chance at winning the Green Jacket since 2011?
We also have the tantalising proposition of Rory going head-to-head with Spieth over the weekend, as Dan Murphy explains.
Sergio Garcia, not helped by his nightmare 13 yesterday, missed the cut – that’s the second year in a row that the defending champion hasn’t made the weekend.
0 birdies on the first nine for Jordan Spieth, the first time he's ever done that in a round at Augusta National.
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) April 6, 2018
The World No. 1 hasn't won #TheMasters since 2002…
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) April 6, 2018
Rory McIlroy is tied for fourth. Here are his results the previous four times he was inside the top-5 after the first round of a major: Win, Win, Win, Win.
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) April 6, 2018
The last time the defending champion missed the cut 2 years in a row was Crenshaw in '96 and Faldo in '97.
I was intrigued so trawled through Wikipedia for 5 minutes. Thought you might like to to know.
Hello? Is this thing on? If @JustinRayGC tweeted it you'd go wild.
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) April 6, 2018
Quotes of the day
I didn’t hit my irons very good at all. I hit so many beautiful putts and nothing went in today.
– Tiger Woods on his frustrating day.
I was steady throughout the day. The first two rounds my speed has been really solid.
– Patrick Reed on his play so far.
Barely 24 hours ago, we were all giving Jordan Spieth his second green jacket and the bookies aren’t quite ready to abandon him yet.
Even though Patrick Reed holds a two shot lead going into the third round, you can easily find 3/1 on the Ryder Cup talisman winning his first major.
Spieth and Rory McIlroy are locked together at 6s but it’s the world number one who I’m going to reload on at the halfway stage.
Dustin Johnson looked out of sorts during the first half dozen holes on Thursday but he’s been stellar since and worked his way back into the frame with a 68.
Yes, he’s six off the pace but, at 12/1 with firms still offering places down to fourth, DJ feels like an each-way bet to nothing for me.
Justin Rose has also held it together during a patient first two days. At 25s, and currently just inside the top 10, it would be no surprise to see him charge towards the podium given his form at Augusta National.
At the bigger prices, Jon Rahm recovered from an opening 75 with a lovely 68. A couple more of them and he could make a mockery of the 50/1 you can get out there on the Spaniard.
Round 3 tee times can be found here.