Things are hotting up at Augusta National as we head into the weekend.
The 36-hole cut threw up a few surprises and there were significant moves at the other end of the leaderboard too. It’s all perfectly set up for an exciting climax to the 2017 Masters.
As we head into the final two days of play, let’s have a recap of yesterday’s events.
Four way tie at the top
When Charley Hoffman went one under early on in his second round few would have predicted a three over par 75. Regardless, holding the joint lead of the Masters heading into the weekend puts the Californian in a strong position.
Sergio Garcia is fond of teasing us all with suggestions that he may be on his way to a first major. Well, he’s up to his old tricks again. Some truly exceptional shot making has him in the mix at the top of the leaderboard.
The big Belgian Thomas Pieters had a topsy-turvy day as he raced to five under and then back-pedalled to even par, before finally recovering into a share of the lead – impressive given his rookie status.
Round of the day went to Rickie Fowler who carded an impressive 67 to join the others at four under par for the tournament.
McIlroy sickened at 18
Sitting at even par for the tournament heading up the 18th hole, Rory McIlroy hit his approach shot with laser-like accuracy toward the flag before a customary club-twirl which indicated to us all that it was good.
Expecting it to land beyond the flag and then finish up within a few feet, the ball cannoned into the flagstick at speed and finished up off the green leaving a nasty up and down to save par. He would go on to miss the par putt and, therefore, currently sits at one over par – just five back.
2016 Major champions cut
The reigning Masters Champion Danny Willett failed to make the cut by a single shot after recording a six over par 78 during yesterday’s second round.
Willett will need to hang around until Sunday though. He will perform the ceremonial handover of the \Green Jacket to one of the remaining 53 players in the field come Sunday evening.
Last year’s Open Championship winner Henrik Stenson suffered a similar fate as he missed the weekend by a mere two shots. Having double bogeyed the first yesterday, when already sitting at five over par, meant it was an uphill task from the get-go.
Masters ominously close
At the end of the second round three past Masters champions are stacked up behind the leaders. Phil Mickleson, who donned the Green Jacket on three separate occasions, the 2013 champion Adam Scott and the winner two years ago, Jordan Spieth, are all sitting four shots back at even par.
Nothing counts more than experience at Augusta National and we expect to see one of these three men making a charge towards the top of the leaderboard over the next two days.
Rookie Rahm in the mix
One of the most in-form players right now, Jon Rahm seemed likely to give a good account of himself at this year’s Masters. Rookies tend to need a few years to get used to Augusta National before playing to their potential - the Spaniard, sitting at one under par for the tournament, seems to have bucked that trend.
But then, do any of us know just what Rahm’s potential equates to? We could have another global superstar on our hands. Let’s see what he can achieve over the next few days.
How has your Masters experience been so far? Any other players you were surprised to see miss the cut? Let us know on Facebook at Hole19 Golf or on Twitter via @hole19golf.