Augusta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) – A big storyline heading into this year’s
Masters was whether or not world No. 1 Rory McIlroy would win his first green
jacket and complete the career grand slam, but the reigning Open Champion and
PGA Championship winner was toeing the cut line throughout most of the day on
However, after shooting a 40 on the front nine in the second round, McIlroy
surged with a 31 on the back nine to complete his second straight 1-under 71.
McIlroy finished 36 holes well above the cut line at 2-under 142.
“Wish I didn’t have to play a back nine like that to get myself 2-under par
for the tournament,” McIlroy admitted. “Wasteful on the front nine, missed a
couple of very short putts. I was a little uncomfortable out there on the
greens for some of them. But I’m really proud of myself the way I fought back
and to shoot 5-under on the back nine was a good effort.”
It was not a great start for McIlroy as the Ulsterman tripped to a bogey at
the first, but he got back to even-par with a 9-foot birdie conversion at the
McIlroy’s tough stretch began on No. 5 when he chipped his third shot 22 feet
past the pin and had to 2-putt for bogey. Two holes later, McIlroy found a
fairway bunker and wound up making another bogey, dropping him back to 1-over
for the week.
With the cut line hovering at 2-over for most of the day, McIlroy was flirting
with danger. Things got worse from there as he went on to double-bogey the
par-4 ninth after a poor chip shot and a 3-putt.
Now at 3-over, McIlroy finally started to get things going by making a 15-
footer for birdie on 10. The big turnaround shot came on the par-5 13th when
he knocked his second shot to three feet. McIlroy kicked that in for eagle,
getting him to even-par.
While he 3-putted for bogey on No. 14, McIlroy hit the green in two on the
par-5 15th and made birdie. A chip-in birdie on 17 followed by a 9-foot putt
for birdie at the last ended McIlroy’s round with a flourish.
Despite being below the cut line at one point, McIlroy finished two rounds
four shots above it and he is now tied for 19th.
DEFENDING CHAMP FIRES ANOTHER 71
Defending champion Bubba Watson carded his second straight 1-under 71 in
Friday’s second round and he sits 12 shots off the lead of Jordan Spieth.
The two-time champion finished 36 holes at 2-under 142, tying him with the
likes of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, four-time winner Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia
and Patrick Reed.
Watson, who went on to win by three shots at Augusta last year with Spieth
finishing in a tie for second, knocked his second shot on the par-5 second to
13 feet and 2-putted from there for birdie.
Two holes later, Watson 3-putted for bogey on No. 4, dropping him back to
even-par on the day. Following a trio of pars, Watson tripped to another bogey
on the par-5 eighth.
That was the last mistake Watson made, however. He later kicked in a 3-foot
birdie putt on the par-5 13th and got back into red numbers with another
close-range birdie conversion on 17. Watson finished with a par at the last to
card his second straight 71.
CRENSHAW CLOSES CURTAINS ON MASTERS
Two-time champion Ben Crenshaw shot a 13-over 85 in his final Masters round on
Friday and he finished the week at 32-over-par 176.
In 44 Masters appearances, Crenshaw collected two green jackets, finished in
the top-10 11 times and was a two-time low amateur.
“We know that we are very lucky to be champions here,” said Crenshaw. “It
takes a lot of good fortune and nerve. You have to hit a lot of brave shots at
the right time. You can’t win the tournament by just laying up.
“This place, I can’t believe I’ve been here 44 years, but I have. It’s been a
great part of my life.”
Following a tap-in bogey at the last, Crenshaw was greeted on the 18th green
by longtime caddie Carl Jackson, who is known for his embrace with Crenshaw
after he broke down into tears following his victory in 1995. Jackson was too
ill to caddy for Crenshaw this week.
Crenshaw’s lone two major championships came in Augusta in 1984 and 1995. He
has also finished runner-up at the PGA Championship and tied for second at the
Open Championship to go along with a tie for third at the U.S. Open.
* Craig Woods (1941), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Raymond
Floyd (1976) are the only players to win the Masters in wire-to-wire fashion.
* Jordan Spieth set the 36-hole Masters record at 14-under-par 130, breaking
Floyd’s mark of 13-under 131 set in 1976.
* Spieth also tied the 36-hole major record. Nick Faldo (1992, Muirfield) and
Brandt Snedeker (2012, Royal Lytham & St. Annes) shot 130 at the Open
Championship, while Martin Kaymer matched them at last year’s U.S. Open at
Pinehurst No. 2.
* Texas has the most Masters champions among any state with 12 and Spieth is
attempting to become the 13th. Ben Crenshaw was the last Texan to win in 1995.
* Tiger Woods’ 3-under 69 was his first sub-70 round since the final round of
2011 (1,461 days).
* Woods, who finished 36 holes at 2-under 142, made the cut for the first time
since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in early August, but he withdrew in the
final round. Woods’ last completed event was last year’s British Open, where
he ended at 6-over.
* Dustin Johnson was 7-under with three eagles and a birdie on the four par-5s
on Friday, setting a Masters record for the most eagles in a round.
* Mark O’Meara, the 1998 Masters champion, shot a 4-under 68 and sits at 3-
under 141. It is the first time O’Meara broke 70 at the Masters since 2001.
* After becoming the oldest player to shoot an under-par round with a 1-under
71 on Thursday, Tom Watson carded a 9-over 81 and missed the cut at 8-over
* The cut fell at 2-over-par 146. No amateurs made the cut. Corey Conners had
the lowest 36-hole score among that group at 5-over 149.
* The par-5 13th hole played the easiest on Friday as players averaged 4.53
strokes on that hole. It allowed seven eagles and 41 birdies to just eight
bogeys or worse. It has also been the easiest hole of the week, with players
averaging 4.60 strokes.
* The par-3 fourth hole played the toughest in the second round. Players
averaged 3.44 strokes on that hole as it yielded just one birdie to go along
with 32 bogeys and six double-bogeys or worse. The par-4 11th has been the
hardest hole of the week, allowing 4.44 strokes per player.