Masters News: Leaderboard Crowded at Top After Round 2 With Moving Day Next

Sergio Garcia

After Thursday’s chaotic winds affected most of the field in Augusta, the weather was a bit more courteous for Friday’s Round 2. Whether it was just players making adjustments or the playing conditions better, 14 players broke par compared to 11 in Round 1.

Charley Hoffman, who led by four shots to start Friday, had a pretty rough day with five bogeys over six holes (No. 6 – No. 11). He followed up his Round 1 65 with a 3-over 75, but managed to stay tied for the Masters lead at 4-under.

Sergio Garcia, Thomas Pieters, and Rickie Fowler all made their move to join Hoffman atop the leaderboard.

Most impressive was perhaps Pieters, the 25-year-old Belgian, who is playing in his first Masters. He was even to start the day but shot a 4-under 68 behind three birdies and an eagle on the 13th. Pieters is no stranger to big wins though as he won an individual NCAA national title in 2013 while at Illinois, turning pro not too long after.

Fowler holed out for an eagle himself on No. 2, from the bunker no less.  He overcame a lateral hazard when his second shot on the 15th hole rolled and bounced into the water. After salvaging a bogey, he bounced back right away on the 16th, nailing a 22-foot birdie putt from off the green on his way to a 5-under 67.

Fowler’s score was best on Friday.

“It’s felt great this week,” Fowler said when asked about being tied for the lead in a major for the first time. “I knew that the first two days were going to be tough with the conditions. Really just had to kind of fight through it and make sure we stayed in the golf tournament, and with a great round today we’ve put ourselves right back in the mix for sure.”

“It’s been good as of late, coming off the win at Honda,” Fowler added. “I’ve been making a lot of birdies and some good finishes in tournaments so we’re in a good spot.”

Sergio Garcia, who had to deal with a brief scoring error that indicated he triple-bogeyed the 10th hole when he actually just bogeyed it, finished with a 3-under 69. He could have taken sole possession of the lead but missed a short birdie putt on the 18th, settling for par.

“I think these first two rounds are probably the best I’ve played here at Augusta,” Garcia said. “I’ve been coming for a while now, but I was very, very happy with the way I played today. I feel like I played a little bit better than I did yesterday. Yesterday, I scrambled nicely and was able to go bogey-free. Today, even though I made three bogeys, I feel like I struck the ball better.”

Garcia summed up his play by simply saying that he’s thrilled with his first two rounds.

The four leaders will have their hands full on moving day with plenty of capable contenders right on their heels. Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Adam Scott will start Saturday within five shots or less.

Fred Couples, who played in 21 straight Masters tournaments from 1995 to 2015 (32 overall), missed eight months of golf last year with a back injury. He shot a 2-under 70 with six birdies leading the way. He will begin Round 3 tied for sixth and just three shots behind.

It looks like we’re in for a lot of fun like this amazing shot from Branden Grace.

Noticeably absent from the weekend will be 2016 champion, Danny Willett, who missed the cut.


Written by BP Staff


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