Abril 25, 2018

Spieth content with round-two fightback at Augusta

07 Abril 2018, 03:10 | Gerardo Tarin

'Just another day at the golf course' for Patrick Reed as he takes US Masters lead while Tiger Woods continues to struggle

Tiger plods through 1st Masters round since 2015

On Thursday afternoon, Tiger Woods, playing the 12th hole at the Masters, left his tee shot short and right, resulting in his ball landing in the water. Spieth, who held the first-round lead, shot a 2-over 74 with a double-bogey start, but he rebounded late to get back into contention.

The putting stats proved crucial to those at the top of the leaderboard on Day 1, with Tony Finau leading the way on 23 (1.28 average) - particularly impressive given he was an injury doubt until Thursday morning after dislocating his ankle during the Masters Par 3 contest.

I'm not excusing Woods' past indiscretions, but everyone deserves the chance to right wrongs.

Reed's only other 36-hole lead was at the 2015 US Open.

"The par 5s are huge around here to be able to pick up ground on", Reed said.

Before beginning his afternoon round on Friday, Reed watched much of the early-day coverage and saw how tough the course was playing in gusty winds and with some hard hole locations.

Leishman fired a 5-under par 67 for 7-under 137.

Reed, seeking his first major championship, birdied three straight holes to start the round and strung together another three birdies heading into the turn to begin to separate himself atop a bunched leaderboard. You know, I'm constantly having a conversation with myself about staying in the present and just one shot at a time and all the cliché stuff that you hear about. "I played the par fives very sloppily and that was the difference in the round".

At age 42, the four-time Masters victor revived "Tigermania" with two top-five PGA tuneup finishes after years of injury struggles, but has been humbled so far at formidable Augusta National. "I hit so many attractive putts". "When you have those kind of tricks playing out there it doesn't make it any easier".

There will be a new champion this year after the 2017 victor played out the string Friday with a 78 after shooting a nine-over 81 in Thursday's first round that was highlighted by the 13 he took on the 15th hole when he shot five balls into the water.

"It's not always the birdies that stick out in your mind", McIlroy said, calling those shots the highlights of his round. He was tied with second-ranked Justin Thomas, who can supplant Johnson atop the rankings with a victory on Sunday. He's never finished in the top 20, and before today, no one here really believed he would ever be a threat to win.

More winds and cooler conditions are expected Saturday along with rain.

"I could have easily let the round slip away from me, but I got it back", he said.

But Woods had no problems negotiating the 17th and 18th as he twice shaved the hole with birdie putts to secure his place in the final two rounds with a shot to spare. "I got in a reasonable score".

McIlroy's round got off to a poor start when he three-putted the first, but the Northern Irishman holed from 30 feet for birdie on the second and just three feet for another on the third.

"We're not here to lay up", Leishman said. "I felt that was a time where I had an opportunity". "But it's all really meaningless unless you go out there and actually do it". He had just dropped a shot on 14, but stuck his second shot inside 10 feet on the par 5 to close in on Reed. He also knows it could have been worse, especially after dumping a 9-iron into Rae's Creek on the par-3 12th hole and having to make a 15-foot putt for bogey and avoid falling to 4-over par. He made bogey at 16 but two closing pars kept him in for the weekend. He finished at five over and made the cut on the number.

The four-time major victor from Northern Ireland stood on 4-under 140 after 36 holes after a day when confusing winds and Augusta National's trademark lightning-fast, undulating greens took a toll on the field.

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