Friday's Birdies and Bogeys
April 09, 2015
Birdie: Jordan Spieth
There's always a risk of a golfer sucking the life out of a tournament. Big lead, no one can catch him, that sort of thing. We usually confront these dilemmas on Sunday. But the way Jordan Spieth has played these first two rounds in the Masters, he even made Friday afternoon anticlimactic. Following up his opening 64 with a 66 on Friday, Spieth broke Ray Floyd's Masters' 36-hole scoring record at 14-under 130 and takes a five-shot lead into Saturday. Sure, Spieth had a lead in the Masters last year and wasn't able to hold on to it. But with that experience, and his three wins since, to point to, he's better prepared for the challenge. -- Sam Weinman
Biride: Dustin Johnson
One hole into his second round, DJ looked like an unlikely player to be challenging Jordan Spieth. Johnson made a mess of the first hole when he missed the green, flubbed his chip, then three-putted for double bogey. But that made the rest of the day so remarkable. Johnson followed up with an eagle on No. 2, then two more eagles on Nos. 8 and 15, making him the first player to eagle three holes in a Masters round and giving him another chance at a first major title. -- S.W.
Bogey: Rory McIlroy
In pursuit of the career Grand Slam, it was widely agreed McIlroy would need to avoid the big numbers that he's posted with alarming frequency at Augusta National. But after a front-side 40 on Friday, McIlroy had fallen victim again. He would rally enough with four birdies and an eagle on the back nine to shoot 71 and move to two under. But it's still a dozen shots behind Jordan Spieth, making his first green jacket highly unlikely. -- S.W.
Biride: Phil Mickelson
The three-time green jacket winner added his name to an impressive leader board late on Friday -- even if everyone is miles behind Jordan Spieth -- with a back-nine rally. Mickelson birdied the difficult 11th and added three more red numbers coming in to shoot 68 to at least give him an outside shot at another Masters title. Maybe Mickelson at 44 has figured out a way to peak at the biggest events. He only has one PGA Tour top 10 since the start of the 2013-14 season, but it was a one-shot loss to Rory McIlroy at the previous major. -- Alex Myers
Birdie: Tiger Woods
After an encouraging first round, Woods looked even better on Friday. A sharp short game was still there, but he also hit 10 fairways and 14 greens on his way to a 69 to climb into the top 20. If there was one thing to nitpick, it was Woods' speed on the greens as he continually left putts short that were on line. Incredibly, Woods won this event by 12 shots at 21 and now trails a 21-year-old by 12 entering the weekend. Still, just making it to the weekend is far from the disaster that many people predicted in his return after a self-imposed two-month layoff. -- A.M.
Bogey: Jason Day
The Aussie seemed like the most likely to challenge Jordan Spieth on Friday based on his world ranking (No. 5 to Spieth's No. 4) and a track record at Augusta National that includes close calls in 2011 (T-2) and 2013 (third). But after an eagle on No. 2, Day didn't have another red number on his card until a birdie on No. 15. His 74 increased his deficit to Spieth to 11. If Day is to win his first green jacket this week, he'll have to best the biggest 36-hole comeback at the Masters by three shots. -- A.M.
Birdie: Ben Crenshaw
The score wasn't supposed to be important for the two-time Masters champion this week. For the 63-year-old Crenshaw in his final tour of Augusta National, what mattered was savoring every footstep. And so even if Crenshaw struggled this week, with a 91 on Thursday followed by a 85 Friday, he still was able to enjoy his final moments with his favorite galleries, punctuated by a special reception on the 18th green. After 44 Masters, Crenshaw won't compete here anymore, but chances are we'll see him back one day as an honorary starter. -- S.W.
Birdie: Charley Hoffman
People might've expected Charley Hoffman to falter Friday. His first-round 67 came in the first group out on Thursday, letting him play at his own pace, and so he teed off on Friday with his name on Augusta's leader boards. Yet Hoffman kept pace with Jordan Spieth all day, shooting the second-best round for the second straight day to secure a spot in Spieth's pairing on Saturday. Hoffman, the three-time tour winner, isn't ready to say he's playing for second place, despite being in a position he's never been in his career. "I'm gonna have to go out and try to catch him. I'll stick to my game plan. But If I get a good number, I'm gonna go pin hunting for sure." -- Stephen Hennessey
Bogey: Sergio Garcia
For a hot second before Friday's round, people actually thought Sergio Garcia had a chance to win this Masters. Sure, Jordan Spieth is playing phenomenally well, but Sergio was hanging in there. And besides, he has been here before. And he's a good ball striker. And he's due a major. But it seems to always be the same with Sergio: As soon as people start believing, he stalls. After an early birdie on the second hole, Garcia followed with six bogeys on his next 11 holes. To his credit, he finished well -- four birdies and a bogey on his final five holes -- but his 74 leaves him irrelevant at two under for the tournament, all but guaranteeing that his 66th major will again end without a victory. -- Luke Kerr-Dineen
Birdie: Mark O'Meara
Earlier this week, Mark O'Meara reunited with old pal Tiger Woods for practice rounds around Augusta National. Tiger noticed a little extra giddy-up on O'Meara's driver as the 58-year-old kept up with the four-time green jacket winner. O'Meara surged past many of the world's the young guns with a second-round 68, giving him one of the last tee times on Saturday. It seems like a senior player always plays a part in the drama of the Masters. Yesterday it was Tom Watson. On Friday, O'Meara looked more like a recent Masters champion than a guy making his first Masters cut in 10 years. -- S.H.
Bogey: Russell Henley
Russell Henley has a lot of potential -- his two PGA Tour wins by the age of 25 have proven as much -- but he failed to follow up his Thursday showing with a solid Friday. At this point in his young career, it would be asking a lot for Henley to make a serious run at Spieth. But the disappointment of his two-over 74, punctuated by a triple bogey on the 10th hole, will linger. Henley failed to capitalize on a good opportunity to go low on Friday, so rather than attacking from the T-6 position he started the day, he'll go into the weekend sitting comfortably outside the top 15. -- L.K.D.
Nerves got the best of the seven amateurs in the Masters field, none of whom finished better than three strokes off the cutline. Their performance ended a five-year streak of at least one amateur playing all four rounds at Augusta, the longest such run since the 1980s. Of their 14 collective rounds, only one was under par: Corey Conners' second-round 69. But after an opening 80, it was too little, too late. That's not to say these guys won't take away fond memories from Augusta; Latin America Amateur champ Matias Dominguez even grabbed some crystal with his ace in the Par-3 Contest. But undoubtedly, they all hoped their week would last two days longer. -- Ryan Herrington
Birdie: Kevin Na
Jordan Spieth has been in a league of his own for much of the tournament, but Kevin Na proved on Friday that catching him remains a remote possibility. Spieth sucked the energy out of the tournament when he followed his outstanding 64 with an early second round 66, but Na refused to submit. Na turned in 32 and eagled the 13th hole to match Spieth's score, which tied him for low round of the day. Spieth'll need to come back to the field for anyone else to have a chance, but Na showed Friday that Spieth isn't doing anything that the others (in theory) couldn't. -- L.K.D.
Bogey: Rickie Fowler
Fowler can claim a moral victory after making birdies on the 17th and 18th holes Friday to sneak inside the cut and grab a Saturday tee time (albeit an early one). But it was an actual victory the 26-year-old came into the Masters looking for, and that's outside the realm of possibilities now. Recent form (he has had just one top-25 finish in six 2015 starts) trumped his impressive 2014 major record as the better indicator for how Fowler would fare this week. It can't help the situation, either, that another young prodigy is running away with things after 36 holes. -- R.H.
Bogey: Fred Couples
We probably shouldn't expect a 55-year-old to play well at a major, but Couples has conditioned us to think that way by routinely "turning back the clock" at Augusta National in recent years. Not this time. Couples followed up a first-round 79 -- his worst Masters score since his first appearance in 1983 -- with a 74 to miss the cut for the first time in his 50s and just the third time in 31 tries. -- A.M.