Day two at the Masters saw more amazing play from the world’s best golfers. It also saw one or two very significant moves up and down the leader board. McIlroy had started the tournament in splendid fashion, similarly to how he started the Open last year. That time he folded in the pressure of a second round played in blustery conditions; there would be no such downfall yesterday though as his long game continued to impress. McIlroys swing, described by Butch Harmon as the best in the world, produces a beautiful high draw that is so essential to success at Augusta. The best ball striker in the world of golf spent the day splitting fairways and knocking down pins…if his putter had been hot who knows how low he could have gone! But an impressive and comfortable 69 has handed Rory a two shot lead over the chasing pack. At the front of that group of players is Jason Day. As part of the young gun three ball including McIlroy and Ricky Fowler, Day tore Augusta apart and shot 64, which at the moment is good enough to be the low round of the week. This means that both McIlroy and Day will continue to play with each other into the weekend.
Everyones tip for the title, Phil Mickelson, had a typically swashbuckling day as he had a mixture of bogeys and birdies with the odd par in between. Unfortunately for the defending champion, the bogeys did their damage and he couldn’t make a significant move up the leader board after carding a 72. Meanwhile Alvaro Quiros couldnt capitalise on his impressive round yesterday and stumbled to a 73, which to be fair, still leaves him in a great position to mount a strong challenge over the weekend.
As the dreaded cut loomed large, some big names who were tipped to do well suddenly found themselves facing the prospect of just being spectators over the weekend. Martin Kaymer, the world number one, continued to struggle around Augusta after his opening round of 78. He was unable to muster a charge on day two and is one of the big names that will be missing at the weekend.
Now to the big guns…
Lee Westwood had vowed to come to Augusta and go one better than last year and he started to makes strides in the right direction. Westwood as usual has been solid from tee to green but the old adage drive for show and putt for dough rings true, certainly around Augusta National. He endured a frustrating day one with a cold putter but finally got it to behave itself at the 15th as he drained a long eagle putt that helped lead him to a 67.
The most eye catching move up the leader board inevitably came from Tiger Woods. After a torrid 18 months on and off the golf course, Woods has had to listen to claims that he was finished, washed up and passed his best. Ian Poulter even went so far as to announce that Woods wouldn’t even finish in the top five. Perhaps Poults is feeling a little on the foolish side after finding himself tailing the golf legend by five shots after two days. Something he should have learned over the last 15 years is that you should never doubt Tiger Woods. After an up and down front nine that saw birdies and bogeys in equal measure, Woods got put game face on and played his last eleven holes in an astonishing seven under par, even with a couple of missed birdie putts thrown into the mix. It is clear that Woods still has the game if he can emerge from his swing reconstruction with Sean Foley the same way he has done in the past with Butch Harmon and Hank Haney. What remains to be seen is how the guys around him on the leader board cope with seeing his name near the top. A popular opinion is that his peers no longer fear him the way they once did…come saturday evening we shall see!
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