Masters Friday Brings Cutline Drama
The excitement that accompanies the first round of the Masters quickly gives way to second-round tension as players fight and claw their way through Augusta National Golf Club, jockeying for position among the top 50 and the opportunity to advance to the weekend.
Several tournament favorites and past champions spent Friday’s Masters second round in the thick of that battle, here’s a breakdown of some of the action.
On to the Weekend
Bryson DeChambeau entered cut day 4-over par and on the outside of the cutline looking in, and his struggles continued early on Friday. After four pars and a bogey in his first five holes, DeChambeau looked destined for an early exit from Augusta.
DeChambeau, however, had other ideas. He birdied three of the final four holes on each of Augusta’s nines and made just one bogey in those final 13 holes to move not only comfortably inside the cutline, but inside the top-20 of the tournament as well. It all added up to a 5-under par 67 and DeChambeau will enter the weekend at 1-under overall and tied for 17th.
Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson had some work to do on Friday after an opening-round 75 left him 3-over par. Like DeChambeau, Mickelson also got off to a slow start, bogeying the first two holes on Friday to find himself 5-over for the tournament.
From there Mickelson steadied the ship. Three birdies and just one bogey over his final 16 holes, including a bogey-free 34 on the second nine, gave Mickelson a ticket to the weekend with no room to spare, as he made the cut on the number at 3-over par. Lefty enters the weekend in a tie for 47th. An early tee time on Saturday of the Masters is better than no tee time at all.
There will be no repeat Masters champion in 2021. After a 2-over par 74 on Thursday, 2020 champion Dustin Johnson needed a good performance on Friday to make the cut. Instead, Johnson shot 3-over par 75 with bogeys on three of his final four holes to miss the cut by two strokes.
Johnson carded just six pars all day after an even-par front-nine that included a double-bogey, two bogeys and four birdies. The top-ranked player in the world was in position to make the cut on the 15th hole on Friday when his second shot on the par-5 reached the green, but instead of setting up an eagle putt -- which would have gotten Johnson to even-par for the tournament -- his ball spun back into the water protecting the front of the green, and Johnson was unable to salvage a par from there.
Sergio Garcia, the 2017 Masters Champion, needed an under-par performance on Friday to make it to the weekend, and for most of the day, it looked like he would get it. Garcia got off to an ideal start, carding birdies on three of his first five holes. Despite bogeys on the sixth and seventh, he added a fourth front-nine birdie on the eighth and made the turn in 2-under par, one shot inside the cutline.
Like Johnson, Garcia entered the 15th hole in position to play the weekend, and like Johnson, his second shot into the par-5 cleared the water and found dry land, but trickled back into the penalty area. Garcia’s eventual par attempt narrowly missed. Needing to play the final three holes even par to make the cut, Garcia was unable to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker on the 17th hole and the Spaniard finished one stroke outside the cut.
After posting the low round of the tournament, a 7-under par 65, on Thursday, Justin Rose shot even-par on Friday to take a one-shot lead into the weekend. Masters rookie Will Zalatoris will join Rose in the final pairing on Saturday after shooting 68 on Friday. Zalatoris is tied for second with Brian Harman at 6-under par for the tournament.
“I’ve wanted to be here my entire life,” Zalatoris said. “Some people shy away from that but I’m excited to be here. I’ve wanted to be here forever, there’s no reason to feel intimidated now. The fact that I’ve wanted to be here my entire life almost frees me up.”
Harman shot his second consecutive 3-under par 69 on Friday and will play with Marc Leishman (-5) in the penultimate group. Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Masters champion, and Bernd Wiesberger join Leishman in a tie for fourth at 5-under par.
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