Masters 2013: Four lessons from day two at Augusta National
Masters 2013: What lessons did we learn from the second day of play at the Augusta National?
Don’t rule Rory out just yet
Rory McIlroy may have dropped four shots on the back nine of his opening round to lie six off the lead – but he showed plenty of grit and determination in his two-under-par second effort to stay in contention going into the weekend. After starting his second round with two bogeys in three holes, the McIlroy that walked off the course at the Honda Classic in March may have been thinking about throwing in the towel again. But April’s McIlroy has got his head in the right place and the Ulsterman knuckled down to bounce back with an eagle three at the eighth. He knocked in another two birdies but the 23-year-old dropped back to one-under with a bogey at 16. McIlroy held his nerve on the 18th though to hole out for birdie and finish two-under-par while not playing his best golf. If he can put another steady round together on moving day he is sure to progress up the leader board and set himself up nicely for a tilt at his first Green Jacket on Sunday.
Even a prowling Tiger gets bad luck
Tiger Woods is back to world number one, his remodelled swing is serving him well and his putting is somewhere near his best. Starting the day four shots off the lead he was well placed to make a trademark Tiger charge and take control of the Masters. And for the first nine holes everything seemed to be going to plan as birdies at five, seven and eight got him to within a shot of the lead. And with overnight leader Marc Leishman dropping a shot, Tiger was tied for the lead with the back nine to play – everything set perfectly. But while Tiger may be back on top of the rankings, he hasn’t won a Major since 2008. The old Tiger never seemed to have any bad luck but the new Tiger struck the pin on 15 and rolled back into the water. A bogey saw him drop to four-under and away from the lead, but he is still well-placed and looks in the mood to pull on a fifth Green Jacket come Sunday evening.
It’s not just the Augusta course that’s cruel
When Dustin Johnson birdied the 13th, he went to two-under-par for the day, seven-under for the tournament, leading the Masters outright and setting the cut at three-over. That score would have eliminated 14-year-old Chinese prodigy Guan Tianlang as he finished his second round at four-over. But Augusta National always has a sting in the tail and Johnson went on to drop six shots in the remaining five holes, including double-bogeys at the 15th and 18th. He finished at one-under for 36 holes, safely inside the cut but it could have been so much better. Meanwhile, his collapse had given renewed hope to Guan who had earlier fallen foul of the rulebook and been penalised one stroke for slow play on the 17th. His par was bumped down to a bogey and that left him with an agonising wait to discover if he had made the cut. Colin Montgomerie slammed the decision, claiming referee John Paramor had picked on the ‘weakest target in the field’.
Garcia’s self-fulfilling prophecy
Spain’s Sergio Garcia grabbed the attention of many in the golfing world at last year’s Masters by, after following a second-round 68 with a 75, proclaiming he was not good enough to ever win a major. He insisted he didn’t have what it takes and would just be playing for second or third – now he seems intent on proving himself correct. Garcia has not led in a major since the 2007 Open that he eventually lost to Padraig Harrington in a playoff at Carnoustie. But after a bogey-free opening round of 66 that put him in the lead at Augusta, he produced a birdie-free second attempt of 76, ten shots different in the space of 24 hours. Famed for his poor putting, it was his approach play that let him down – he found bunkers on the second and fourth, and the water on the 11th. But he remains in the tournament and in with a chance providing he can string two strong rounds together.