It’s such a long time from August to April as the golfing world is forced to wait for major championship golf to keep us entertained. But it’s April, it’s the Masters and it’s delivering as expected once again.
Round one provided a lot of excitement and an abundance of birdies as players took advantage of soft conditions, moderate hole locations and weather perfect for scoring. Friday provided a much different test for the players, as is often the case when navigating Masters week at Augusta National.
Friday’s Most Impressive Performances
Fred Couples – At the ripe ole age of 53, Fred Couples has put himself in position to win a 2nd green jacket. Couples is being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May and many have questioned his Hall of Fame worthiness. A solid weekend at Augusta National will cement his legacy as one of the game’s best ever.
Mark Leishman – Despite posting a score above par, 1-over 73, on Friday, Leishman has to be commended for handling a situation he’d never experienced until Friday. Sleeping on the lead in a major championship can drive the greatest of players crazy and in only his 2nd Masters appearance, Leishman found himself front and center of everyone’s attention. Playing in the afternoon during the more difficult conditions, Leishman held his own and will start the weekend with a share of the lead for the 2nd consecutive day.
Jason Day – Starting the day at 2-under par, Day battled around a very difficult Augusta National as the final pairing on the golf course. Day’s experienced the thrill of being in the hunt on the weekend of the Masters and he’s positioned himself right back in the thick of it again this year.
Angel Cabrera – The 2-time major champion and winner of one Green Jacket, Cabrera improved 19 positions on Friday thanks to a 3-under par, 69. As the conditions are likely to get more difficult as the golf course gets firmer and faster, Cabrera’s high ball flight and length of the tee will benefit him greatly over the weekend.
Jason Dufner – Last year the “Duf” enjoyed the thrill of playing his way into the top spot entering the weekend. Unfortunately back-to-back 75’s left Dufner out of the hunt on Sunday. This time around, he got off to a slower start but by virtue of a 3-under par, 69, the unflappable Dufner will start the weekend inside the top 10.
Tianlang Guan – The kids’ 14 years old, gets assessed a one shot penalty for slow play on the 17th hole and still manages to finish at 4-over par for 36 holes. It’s just simply amazing what the boy has accomplished thus far on a golf course many believed would be too much for the shorter hitting Guan.
Can’t Be To Surprised Category
Sergio Garcia – He shared the over night lead after a first round 66. In his post round press conference, he referenced enjoying this “while it lasted”, not exactly radiating confidence. Sergio’s not exactly the strongest mentally these days and it showed on Friday as he seeming misjudged every gust of wind and struggled to hit solid iron shots when he needed them most. Nevertheless he’ll start the weekend at 2-under par and very much in contention to win his first major championship.
Dustin Johnson – C’mon man, really? D.J. was cruising along and literally setting the pace on Friday. Walking off the 13th green, Johnson was 7-under par and maintained a 2 shot lead. Unfortunately the wheels came off and came off quickly. Johnson will start the weekend at 1-under par and understandably wondering if he has what it takes on the inside to bounce back from a disastrous final five holes on Friday.
Didn’t really see it coming Category
Matt Kuchar – Kuchar’s won a Players Championship. He’s captured a World Golf Championship. What’s next for the former U.S. Amateur Champion is a Major Championship. Starting the day at 4-under par, Kuchar was able to get as deep as 5-under early in his 2nd round before struggling on the back nine. Kuchar will start the weekend at 1-under par after a 2nd round 75.
Get Me Off This Roller Coaster
Ernie Els started the day at 1-under par and got off to a reasonably good start with a birdie on the par 5, 2nd hole. After giving it back on the par 4, 3rd hole, Els managed to stay at 1-under par until he bogeyed the par 3, 6th. After a bogey on 7, 9, 10 and 11 he found himself at 4-over par and flirting with the cut line. Fortunately for Els, he bounced back with a birdie on 13, eagle on 15 and birdie on 18 to finish the day at 1-over par. Els will likely begin the weekend only 6 or 7 shots out of the lead, close enough for the 4-time major champion to make a run for a coveted Green Jacket.