Friday's Birdies and Bogeys

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Friday's Birdies and Bogeys

April 11, 2013

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Birdie: Old GuysWhile his playing partner, Dustin Johnson, rose and fell sharply, Fred Couples stayed steady, earning a late afternoon tee time on the weekend for the second straight year at the Masters with a second-round 71. At 53, Couples will have company among baby boomers. After a sluggish start to Friday, 55-year-old Bernhard Langer birdied two of his last five holes to move to two-under par; while Sandy Lyle, also 55, is another three strokes back.

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Bogey: Tiger WoodsTrue, this wasn't all his fault. A cruel bounce off the flagstick and into the water on No. 15 led to two late bogeys, but that was just part of how Woods squandered a golden opportunity. Having seized a share of the lead after a front-nine 33, TV pundits like Curtis Strange were saying the 14-time-major winner was poised to open up a big gap on the field by day's end. But his momentum stalled, and if not for holing several nervy par putts, this round could have been much worse than his 71. Amazingly, Woods' 38 coming in marked the eighth straight round at Augusta National where he's failed to break par on the easier back nine.

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Birdie: Tianlang GuanTianlang Guan's week was impressive enough given his poised play through 36 holes. But the 14-year-old's best performance might have been how he handled a cruelly-timed slow-play penalty on the 17th hole Friday. Guan wasn't happy, naturally, but he said he respected the decision. It's one thing to play golf like a man, quite another to act like one under adverse conditions.

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Bogey: John ParamorWe get it. Slow play is a problem, and we're all for seeing golfers face real consequences for dawdling. But given how lax rules officials have been in addressing pace of play until now -- there hasn't been a slow play penalty assessed in a major since 2010 -- it seemed particularly cruel to pick a 14-year-old to set an example. Fortunately, thanks to tough second-round conditions, Guan still slid into the weekend at four-over par.

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Birdie: Jason DayTwo years after getting nipped at the finish by Charl Schwartzel and a year after withdrawing with a foot injury here, Day again has a chance to be the first Australian to win a green jacket. And yet the best part about Jason Day's four-under 68 is that it wasn't a five-under 67. Why? Because while it was good enough to give Day a one-stroke lead heading into the weekend, it was still only 10 shots better than 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, allowing the teenager to make the cut. On a day when Guan was infamously assessed an ill-timed slow-play penalty, Day inadvertently cut the kid a needed break.

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Bogey: 15th HolePar 5s are supposed to be easy, right? Not No. 15 under major championship pressure, especially when the hole is cut on the left side of its narrow, slippery green. Those laying up to within wedge distance faced no bargains with their third shots. With their names near the top of the leader board, both Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk found the pond in front of the green on their way to deflating double bogeys. Even Tiger Woods, who hit an excellent approach, fell victim when his ball caromed off the flagstick and wound up in the water.

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Birdie: Rory McIlroyThe former World No. 1's early-season struggles have been well documented, especially his walk-off WD at the Honda Classic, but there's been no quit in McIlroy this week. Despite seven bogeys in his first 21 holes, the 23-year-old worked his way back into contention at two under. The catalyst seems to be a last-second decision to play in last week's Valero Texas Open, where he finished runner-up to gain some much-needed confidence. He's certainly looking a lot more comfortable with his Nike gear -- even those bright blue pants.

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Bogey: Dustin JohnsonA birdie on No.13 gave the talented American a two-shot lead and a chance to be the man to beat heading into the weekend. But about an hour later, Johnson wasn't anywhere near the top of the leader board. In a stunning turn of events, DJ played the final five holes in six over, including double bogeys on No. 15 and No. 18. We've seen him melt down at majors before, but this was earlier than usual.

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Birdie: Angel CabreraIt's tough for a two-time major winner to do anything quietly, let alone one as large as Cabrera, but that's exactly what the Argentine did Friday when he crept into contention yet again. Five birdies over his final six holes have the 2009 champion seeking a second green jacket -- and an almost certain eventual induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

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Bogey: Sergio GarciaIt was a surprise for Garcia to take the lead with a first-round 66 seeing how critical he's been of Augusta National in the past. Less surprising was seeing Garcia surrender his position. Struggling to figure out the shifting wind -- including when he dunked one in the water on the par-5 15th -- Garcia shot 76 to tumble off the leader board.

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Birdie: Jim FurykThe sour events of 2012 -- a season that included late stumbles in the U.S. Open, the Bridgestone Invitational, and the Ryder Cup -- could have stuck with Furyk through the first part of this season. But in moving to four-under par through two rounds at Augusta National, the 2003 U.S. Open champion appears unfazed. There's always the chance for more heartbreak this weekend. But it sure beats not even having the chance.

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Bogey: Phil MickelsonLefty clawed his way to a 71 on Day 1 and vowed after to play more aggressively on Friday. It backfired. After moving to two under through eight, Mickelson bogeyed Nos. 9, 10, 14, and 15 and added a disastrous double bogey at No. 12 when he found the water. If he's to slip on a fourth green jacket Sunday evening, he'll have to stay aggressive -- but actually play well, too.

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Birdie: Ben CrenshawThis was hardly Crenshaw's finest moment on the golf course. He left two balls in the bunker on the fourth hole en route to an 84. Yet his spirited defense of Tianlang Guan after Guan was assessed a slow-play penalty showed the two-time Masters champ recognized a cause much bigger than his own.

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