AUGUSTA – Tiger Woods made a move and that garnered much of the attention during the second round of the Masters. However, others did their parts to stake a claim to the top spot at Augusta National Golf Club.
Italy’s Francesco Molinari shot a bogey-free, 5-under-par 67 on Friday to share first place going into the weekend in Augusta.
Brooks Koepka, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Australia’s Jason Day and Adam Scott are level with Molinari at 7-under-par 137. Oosthuizen posted a 66 for one of the best scores of the round.
However, a big stir occurred late in the day when Woods pulled within one of the leaders. His 68 left him at 6 under in a four-way tie for sixth behind the top group.
Woods had pars on the final three holes with chances to make an even bigger splash.
He used 30 putts on his round. Through two rounds, he has drained five putts of 20 or more feet — more than any other golfer in the field.
It all could be coming together for Woods.
“I feel like my body is good and my game is good, it’s sharp,” he said. “So just got to go out there and execute and I got to do the proper things, and if I do miss, I miss in a proper spot.”
Scott surged to the front with an eagle on No. 15 before giving back a stroke with a bogey on the next hole. He ended up with a 68.
“I know where and when my game is coming into really good shape, and I can see it coming back,” Scott said. “I think I got some good confirmation.”
Day carded five birdies overall, including birdies on all four of the par-5 holes. His only two bogeys came on the back nine en route to a 67.
“The whole goal is to try and take advantage of the par 5s here this week,” Day said.
Day dealt with a sore back that limited some of his flexibility. His wife told him that he couldn’t use it as an excuse while at a major.
“You need to suck it up,” Day said was the message from his wife, Ellie.
Others weren’t surprised that Day pulled it together.
“He seems to have a bad back all the time and plays great,” Scott said, “so I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.”
Koepka, a first-round co-leader, had a slow start to the second round but finished at 71.
Koepka was 2 over on the day through six holes, with a double bogey, two bogeys and two birdies. His errant tee shot on the second hole led to the double bogey. He recovered to produce nine pars and three birdies over his last 12 holes.
“Understanding where to miss it,” Koepka said. “I think sometimes maybe I was a little bit too aggressive. I’m super aggressive at a normal event, and that kind of backfires sometimes. But at a major, just know there’s 72 holes, so I kind of let things brush off my back a little bit easier.”
Dustin Johnson (70), Xander Schauffele (65) South Africa’s Justin Harding (69) are even with Woods at 6 under.
Harding made four consecutive birdies (Nos. 12-15) and added another on No. 17 before finishing with a bogey.
Play was suspended for about a half-hour shortly after 5 p.m. EDT because of thunderstorms in the area.
Woods made a putt of about 40 feet on No. 9, then added a birdie on No. 11 before play was stopped.
Spain’s Jon Rahm was at 5 under for the tournament after 11 holes but never made another move and was stuck two strokes behind the leaders following a 70.
England’s Ian Poulter had grabbed the lead at 4 under early in the day, but he stalled with nine straight pars. Poulter shot 1 under on Friday to go to 5 under for the tournament after briefly reaching 6 under.
Phil Mickelson remained within range as he was 1 over for the round and at 4 under for the tournament.
Patton Kizzire was among the early finishers, notching a 70 for the second day in a row. His 4-under total made him the leader in the clubhouse before some golfers teed off for the second round.
Matt Kuchar shot 3 under for the round to join Kizzire and Mickelson among 4-under finishers.
First-round co-leader Bryson DeChambeau dipped to 3 under after notching a 75.
Defending champion Patrick Reed shot 70 to reach 1 under for the tournament and make the cut.
–Field Level Media