Souhan: Masters leaders all embrace the moment

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 13, 2013 - 12:23 AM

A couple of Australians and Fred Couples didn’t exactly play it cool. They reveled in the glory.

– Jason Day had just navigated rain, wind, sun and shadows to take the lead at the Masters, had positioned himself to become the first Australian to win at Augusta National on a day he called “a big grind.” He wasn’t about to play it cool.

“It feels like every shot is the biggest shot you’ve ever hit in your life,” he said. “This is my favorite tournament of the year.”

Day shot a second-round 68 on Friday to reach 6 under par, one shot ahead of Fred Couples and Marc Leishman. The former is an old guy and the latter is another Aussie, meaning that the top three players on a fascinating leaderboard can cite precedents for weekend failure.

An Australian has never won the Masters, and the one who came closest, Greg Norman, became synonymous with major collapses.

An old guy has never won the Masters, at least no one older than 46, and Couples is 53 and feeling every year on every drive.

“I’m going to quit when I win this thing, I swear to God,” Couples said when asked what he would do if he won. “I’m going to retire. I’ll play golf, but it won’t be this hard. The golf course is brutal.”

“Fred loves it here,” said Bernhard Langer, another Champions Tour refugee who played well, finishing four shots off the lead. “This is his second home.”

Golf fans are accustomed to Tiger Woods’ competitive blinders and the clichés of those who fear glancing at a leaderboard or contemplating pressure.

The Aussies and the old guy played with eyes wide open on Friday.

Day said, “I love this place,” and embraced the challenge left intact by Norman. “Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure on my shoulders, being from Australia and no Australian has ever won the event.”

Couples stretched his trick back constantly during the round, sometimes looking like he was conducting his own yoga class, as the crowd called “Freddie” after every shot. “You get into, ‘Am I good enough to play four good rounds in a row on a course like this?’ ” he said. “It didn’t happen last year. I was 4 over pretty fast on Saturday, which was a real bummer.”

Leishman acknowledged his lack of pedigree — at 29, he’s played in four majors, never finishing higher than 27th — and admitted he can’t keep his eyes off his name atop the elegant Masters scoreboards. “It’s pretty cool to see your name up at the top of there,” he said.

They all sound like they’re playing with house money. Day ended his interview by saying, “Cheers.” Leishman’s answer to one question was “No worries.” Couples admitted that the fans are right by thinking he’s “pretty cool.”

They sit atop a leaderboard that includes eight different major champions among the top 20, and 20 players within four shots of the lead, including the man who seemed poised to seize control of the tournament late Friday afternoon.

Tiger Woods made birdies at the fifth, seventh and eighth holes to tie for the lead. He continued to pour in clutch par putts until he hit a third-shot wedge into the par-5 15th.

Woods had made par or better at that hole in 26 straight rounds. His shot tracked at the pin, then hit the pin so flush it bounced back into the pond fronting the green. Only a brilliant up-and-down from 2 yards back of his original lie salvaged a bogey. After Woods bogeyed the 18th, he was three shots behind Day.

“I felt it was a pretty good shot,” Woods said. “I was pretty [angry]. I felt I played really well today, a round that should have been in the 60s. I played really played well today, especially when the wind was picking up and swirling all over the place.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Friday at the Masters.

    Friday April 12, 2013

    Jason Day leads the Masters after the second round, and 14-year-old Guan Tianlang has become the youngest player to...

  • At-a-glance: Day 2 at the Masters

    Friday April 12, 2013

    Toss that cardHunter Mahan had finished in the top 12 at Augusta three of the past four years, but he...

  • Rickie Fowler, right, lined up his putt while Jason Day exited the 13th green grinning, his work over, during the second round of the Masters on Friday.

  • Jason Day watched a putt on the 18th Friday, when he landed atop the leaderboard.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - C. Frias 2:10 PM
Colorado - J. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 2:40 PM
Arizona - A. Chafin
Boston - C. Buchholz 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano
Toronto - J. Happ 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Washington - B. Treinen 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Miami - H. Alvarez 6:10 PM
NY Mets - D. Gee
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb
Cincinnati - D. Corcino 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Cleveland - C. Carrasco 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Detroit - D. Price 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Texas - D. Holland 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close