For a dozen holes of this Masters second round, the biggest threat to Justin Rose looked as if it came from within. By close of play, Jordan Spieth had appeared in Rose’s rearview mirror like the kind of old friend you smile at while wishing they were somewhere else entirely.
에 2015, Rose tried to chase down Spieth on a Masters Sunday and failed. While the scenario is, for now, entirely different – Rose holds the advantage and there are 36 holes to play – Spieth is striding forward as golf’s redemption man. That he is within touching distance of Rose’s lead, days after a first tournament victory in almost four years, feels hugely significant.
Does Spieth allow himself to believe he can win? Too right, he does. “I came in thinking that,”그는 말했다. “I’m in position now to think that, for sure. At the halfway point, I would have been pleased with being two back.
“I’m happy that the golf course has the opportunity to play more and more difficult over the weekend. I’m looking forward to that kind of challenge and I think that could be an advantage to me if I’m in control of the ball.” Spieth seemed perfectly aware that gusting winds are in Saturday afternoon’s forecast.
It is hardly being cruel to Rose to point out the will of most neutral observers will be for Spieth to claim a second Masters come Sunday evening in this iconic corner of Georgia. Yet such outcomes still feel a long way off. Rose, at seven under par, leads by one from Will Zalatoris and Brian Harman. Spieth has joined Marc Leishman at minus five.
Rory McIlroy was among those to miss the Augusta cut, the first time the Northern Irishman has suffered such ignominy here since 2010. Brooks Koepka also exited stage left after providing unwanted reference to The Best of the Connells (on the basis such a thing exists): 74-75.
That Rose shot level par belies the full story of his day. Having started the second round with a four-shot lead, the Englishman handed three strokes back to the course by the 8th tee. At the 6th, a 67ft Rose putt lacked sufficient gusto to negotiate a hill and rolled back to his feet. He remained at minus four, and by this point tied with Bernd Wiesberger, until a birdie at the 13th. Rose picked up further shots at the 14th and 16th in hauling himself back to the aggregate position he had teed off at. ㅏ 72, 물론이야, lacked the fireworks of his first-round 65 but Rose, such a fierce competitor, stood firm when it would have been easy to wilt.
“I think it was just a classic day at Augusta National when you’re just slightly off,” Rose explained. “You can be a foot or two out on certain occasions and you end up struggling. I think maybe off the back of yesterday, it starts to feel pretty different pretty quickly.
“I had a word with myself on the 8th tee. I just changed my mindset a little bit at that point and started to play match play against the golf course. I scratched a line on my scorecard and told myself I was three down, could I go ahead and beat the golf course from that point on? I had a putt on 18 to win my match 1up, but unfortunately it just slipped by. An honourable draw.” As Rose knows only too well, the Masters demands a victor.
Spieth dropped just a single shot during his 68. Birdies at the 2nd, 10th, 13th, 15th and 17th endorsed his new-found confidence. Leishman posted 67 from the morning wave. Zalatoris’s 68 and Harman’s 69 were delivered late in the day.
Justin Thomas, whose claims on this event looked stronger than anybody’s before a ball was struck, sat alongside Spieth at five under until a mishap at the last. Thomas lipped out for par from 7ft, turning a 66 into a 67. Thomas has Tony Finau, Kim Si-woo, Cameron Champ, Hideki Matsuyama and Wiesberger for company at minus four.
Bryson DeChambeau showed he has grit to match his eccentricity with a 67 – nine strokes better than he managed on Thursday. At one under par, it would be foolish to rule out Masters glory for the reigning US Open champion. From the course he headed to the range, battering drive after drive until darkness drew near. His is a relentless pursuit.
“You have to experience failure in order to understand what success is,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just not realistic to have success all the time. That’s what’s so great about this golf course.”
That José María Olazábal survived the cut was stunning. The Spaniard, who won here in 1994 과 1999, hadn’t played competitive golf since struggling at the last Masters in November. There, he signed for 78 과 80. The 55-year-old returned to add a 71 to Thursday’s 75, thereby squeezing into the final 36 holes for the first time since 2014.
“It’s like winning the event,” said a beaming Olazabal. “I enjoyed the two days. Obviously, because I hit the ball better but because of the conditions on the golf course. It’s lovely to see Augusta played like we have the last two days, fast and firm. It reminds me a lot of the late ‘80s and ‘90s.” On what would have been Seve Ballesteros’s 64th birthday, there was poignancy attached to that comment.