Patrick Reed is the man in front after 36 holes of The Masters; He leads by two after a second round 66 that included nine birdies
It might be unfamiliar territory to him, but Patrick Reed is heading in to the weekend of a major with a two shot lead after he tamed Augusta on a day where just 16 players were under par.
As first round leader Jordan Spieth faltered early, his US Ryder Cup partner fired nine birdies in a six-under par round of 66 to wind up with a two-shot lead over Marc Leishman after 36 holes.
Three opening birdies in a row for Reed set the wheels of a front-nine 31 in motion, with another trio of birdies coming from the 7-9th and just one dropped shot on the fourth. Another blemish came on the 10th to momentary halt his momentum, but Reed would open up a three shot lead following three more back-to-back birdies from 13-15 to reach 10-under-par.
Reed missed a short putt for par on the 16th, but a par-par finish ensured he would head into Saturday with a commanding lead as he targets his first ever major title. Although with difficult weather conditions predicted and some of the World’s best players just a few shots adrift, there’s still a long way to go before we start putting Reed in a green jacket.
Australian Marc Leishman, who like Reed is seeking his maiden major title this week, was the most threatening player to the American’s lead on Friday. A five-under 67 included one of the best shots of the day to set up an eagle on the 15th, as well as an indentical birdie-birdie-birdie start to leave him two shots behind heading in to the weekend.
Leaderboard packed with major champions and World’s best ranked players
Reed and Leishman are not going to be gifted their first major titles, and there’s a barrage of former major champions (8) and World’s top 10 players (6) inside the top 10 of The Masters leaderboard ready to make their move over the weekend.
2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson is two shots back of Leishman at -5, while fellow major champions Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth sit at -4. It was a disappointing round for Spieth, who opened double-bogey-bogey to hand back the lead he’d gained in round 1. A two-under back-nine helped salvage a two-over 74, while McIlroy managed a one-under 71 thanks to back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14.
Meanwhile, World No.2 and current PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas matched Leishman’s 67 for the second lowest round of the day, and both Dustin Johnson (#1) and Jon Rahm (#3) posted rounds of 66. Thomas and DJ occupy a share of 6th at three-under-par for the tournament, while Rahm sits just outside the top 10 at -1.
Also playing their way in to the top 10 were Justin Rose and Bubba Watson, who provided one of the most impressive shots of the day from the pine straw on the right side of the 11th hole – bending it a near impossible amount around the corner and on to the green. They share 8th place with Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen and Charley Hoffman.
Further down the list, both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson made the cut, but disappointing rounds mean they sit +4 and +5, 13 and 14 shots behind Reed.
Garcia headlines big name players and former Masters Champions to miss the cut
Sergio Garcia was in need of one of the best rounds of the day to make the cut after the well documented 13 shots he took on the 15th hole during round 1, but it wasn’t to be for the defending champion.
Instead, Garcia finished with a 78 to match his first round 81 to miss the cut with a combined score of 159 – sitting in the company of former champions Angel Cabrera and Mark O’Meara.
Other former champions to miss the cut were Larry Mize, Mike Weir, Ian Woosnam, Trevor Immelman, Sandy Lyle, Jose Maria Olazabal, Charl Shwartzel and Danny Willett.
Mark O’Meara announces retirement from The Masters after missing the cut, 20 years after winnng his maiden major at Augusta National.
O’Meara, who said his farewell to The Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017, had hinted he would have something to say after Friday’s round after admitting the course was now too long and he no longer felt he was able to contend.
Following a nine-over-par 81 in his 106th competitive round at Augusta National, the 61-year-old decided that having finished 10 shots outside of the cut mark, he is ready to call time on his Masters playing career.
“There comes a point in time when you say enough’s enough,” said O’Meara, who birdied his final two holes in 1998 to win the Green Jacket ahead of Fred Couples and David Duval. “I just don’t want to go out and shoot 76s and 80s and 79s.
“Today I had no birdies and shot 81 – that’s not exactly very sterling. Even though the course is very demanding and very tough, it’s fair. The course has always been fair, but it’s an extreme test of golf.”
“That was it for me; I’m done. I love this championship. It’s just a tough golf course when you’re 61.”