DAY 2 AT AUGUSTA
Keep that card
Rickie Fowler: A chip-in eagle from the deep bunker at No. 2 was the start of something special. Fowler soared to a 5-under 67 on Friday, the best round of the day, to get to 4 under for the tournament and joining Sergio Garcia, Thomas Pieters and Charley Hoffman atop the leaderboard.
Toss that card
Lee Westwood: Could not find the magic to build on Thursday’s five consecutive back-nine birdies. Westwood on Friday instead made four bogeys on the front nine, four more on the back and limped to a 77.
On the course with ...
Stewart Hagestad: Nerves? This 25-year-old New York City financial analyst eats nerves for breakfast. Hagestad on Friday avoided potential disaster when he calmly made a twisting 25-foot par putt on No. 10. Later, he walked to the 18th tee needing only to avoid a blowup to become the first Mid-Amateur champion to make the Masters cut since the exemption started in 1989. A day after two-putting from 90 feet to save par at the last, Hagestad plunked his approach shot from 170 yards away behind the hole, watched it inch back toward the flag and nearly drop for an eagle. He tapped in the birdie to cap a 1-over 73, and make the cut by two.
It’s often said what surprises people most about Augusta is the severely uneven terrain. That’s especially true on the greens. In a span of about 25 minutes Friday, ESPN cameras showed Fred Couples, Jordan Spieth, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Phil Mickelson all hit their approach shots short of the No. 9 flagstick. And all four rolled backwards down the false front back to the fairway. Fitzpatrick never recovered, making a double bogey on the ninth and shooting 3 over on the back side.
• A dialed-in Rory McIlroy hit his approach shot on 18 off the flagstick, turning a would-be birdie into a disappointing bogey. Keep that in mind if he’s in the mix come Sunday.
• Defending champion Danny Willett made a quadruple-bogey 8 on the first hole, then missed a par putt on 18 en route to a 78. He missed the cut by a stroke.
• Hovering on the cut line, Branden Grace holed a shot from 91 yards for eagle on No. 15 to make the weekend.
Par-4, 445-yard No. 1: Only three players managed birdie, including Garcia to spark a run of three straight birdies at the start of his round. More typical were bogeys (80), double-bogeys (11) and six scores that were even higher.
Quote of the day
“I’ve holed the winning putt a million times.”
— Pieters, 25, asked if he ever dreamed of leading the Masters.
Tweet of the day
“If Tiger Woods needs a little reason for optimism, there’s a 57-year-old with a bad back on the Masters leaderboard.”
— ESPN golf reporter Jason Sobel, during Couples’ round of 70 on Friday (@JasonSobelESPN).
Temperatures in the mid-70s. Slight breeze. It took until Saturday, but this is what the Masters is supposed to feel like. Players should respond with some excellent action on moving day. CBS (Ch. 4) picks up coverage at 2 p.m.