AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP)The Latest on the Masters (all times local):
Englishman Justin Rose is clinging to the lead at 7-under 137 heading into the final two rounds at the Masters – but just barely.
What had been a four-shot lead after the opening round was shaved to just one at the midway point of the tournament, after Rose shot even-par 72, then watched as little-known Will Zalatoris and lefty Brian Harman shot 68 and 69, respectively, to close the gap. And they weren’t the only ones to take advantage of the softer conditions under overcast skies Friday at Augusta National. The average score for the field on Day 2 was more than two strokes lower.
Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Masters winner, and Marc Leishman were another shot back at 139, with Justin Thomas clawing his way into the six-pack of players at 140 after a 67.
Late surges by Will Zalatoris and Brian Harman put the pair within a shot of leader Justin Rose at the midway point of the Masters.
Zalatoris, who was playing on the Korn Ferry Tour at this time last year, birdied the last three holes Friday to post 68 and a 138 total. Harman, a left-hander who didn’t think he’d need to make his Masters plans until a month ago, booked his spot near the top of the leaderboard with a 69, thanks to birdies at the last two holes.
Rose shot even-par 72, then watched as most of the air leaked out of what had been a four-shot cushion after the opening round.
Conditions are firm and fast at Augusta National, just the way Jose Maria Olazabal likes them. And it showed Friday at the Masters. The two-time Masters champion shot a 1-under 71 and was assured of making the cut.
He 55-year-old from Spain says making the cut feel like winning the tournament.
Olazabal hasn’t broken par at the Masters since 2015. He hasn’t played the weekend at the Masters since 2014. But it’s worth noting that both years Olazabal won the green jacket, the winning score was single digits under par.
He says he has enjoyed the two days because he is hitting the ball, and because of the conditions. Olazabal says, ”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.”
Justin Rose has rallied with three birdies on the back nine to put himself out front again at the Masters.
Rose had to settle for an even-par 72 on what was shaping up as a slightly easier day for scoring at Augusta National. He had birdies on the par 5s on the back nine and made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th.
When he finished, he had a two-shot lead over Marc Leishman.
It’s been a tale of two nines for Rose so far this week. He was 2 over through seven holes on Thursday and then went on to post a 65. On Friday, he was 3 over through seven holes and salvaged his round on the back nine with a 33.
Tony Finau already has six birdies and an eagle through 15 holes. He was two shots behind with three to play.
Marc Leishman had another fast start at the Masters, and this time he finished it.
Leishman was 4 under through his opening eight holes on Thursday until he stumbled home to a 72. On Friday, the Australian birdied his first three holes. This time, he had another surge on the back nine and shot 67.
Justin Rose was at 6 under for the tournament and still had two holes remaining. Leishman was finished with his 36 holes at 5-under 139, with Bernd Wiesberger posting a 66 to finish at 4 under.
Wiesberger says the pin positions were tougher on Friday, but there was still a chance for low scores. Among those still on the course, Tony Finau was 5 under and Justin Thomas was 4 under.
Leishman is best known at the Masters for playing the final round with Adam Scott in 2013, the year Scott became the first Australian in a green jacket.
Bernd Wiesberger of Austria began the second round of the Masters nine shots out of the lead. By the time he reached Amen Corner, he was tied with Justin Rose.
Wiesberger finished off his seven-birdie round of 6-under 66 and was tied for the lead when he finished. Marc Leishman of Australia was having himself a day and was at 4 under with four holes left. Rose was not. He was at 3 over for the round after 12 holes.
Wiesberger posted the early clubhouse lead at 4-under 140, though it was doubtful it would stand.
But the Austrian showed good scores were available on a dry course. He birdied his opening three holes and started the back nine with a 25-foot putt on the 10th.
Wiesberger’s best run in the majors was at Valhalla in 2014 when he started the final round of the PGA Championship one shot behind Rory McIlroy. He shot 74 in the final round and finished seven shots back.
Masters leader Justin Rose had an adventure at the par-3 6th hole on Friday.
Rose’s lead was four shots entering the second round. The bogey on the 6th left his margin over Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger at just one shot.
He played his tee shot to the front of the green, leaving himself a 67-foot putt up a steep slope for what would have been a birdie.
That putt didn’t clear the slope and rolled almost all the way back to where Rose was standing. He had a 60-footer for par, got that one past the slope at least, and wound up making an 8-footer for bogey.
Rose had three bogeys through his first six holes Friday. He had only two bogeys, total, on his way to an opening-round 65 on Thursday.
Bernd Wiesberger of Austria has made a move in the second round of the Masters.
He had five birdies on the front nine Friday morning and went out in 31, getting to 3 under for the tournament and within three shots of leader Justin Rose.
Wiesberger had a 5-foot birdie try on No. 9 that would have allowed him to tie the Masters front-nine record and go out in 30, something that has been done on six previous occasions. He pushed it just a bit left, then tapped in for par.
Rose was 1 over through four holes Friday,
Wiesberger is trying to go 6-for-6 in making the cut in his Masters appearances.
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson has some work to do if he’s going to play the weekend. Mickelson made bogey on his first two holes Friday, falling to 5 over for the week.
Justin Rose takes a four-shot lead into the second round of the Masters. When he tees off Friday morning, he has a chance to either build an even larger lead or allow players to get a little closer.
It was only four years ago that Charley Hoffman had a four-shot lead after one round. The wind was ferocious the opening two rounds in 2017. Hoffman opened with a 65. The next day he shot 75 and there was a four-way tie for the lead after 36 holes.
Augusta National remained dry, though there was significant cloud cover for morning groups that included Rose and Shane Lowry, Jordan Spieth and Tyrrell Hatton.