AUGUSTA, Ga. — Forecasts are for highs in the low 80s with a small chance of rain throughout Friday, and a 33% chance of rain in mid-to-late afternoon.
Justin Rose, the leader at 7-under, tees off at 8:36 a.m. Central time. The most interesting pursuers, for me, are Patrick Reed (1 p.m.) and Jordan Spieth (9:54 a.m.).
Both have won the Masters. Reed never seemed deterred by his reputation for cheating and played a rock-solid round on Thursday to leave him at 2 under. Spieth survived a few horrid shots to keep himself in contention.
I walked with Cameron Champ on Thursday morning, and his length and ball-striking are ideal for this course. If he had two-putted instead of four-putted the third green, he'd be tied for fourth. As it is, he's tied for 13th and still in contention.
The reality is, we have no idea who will win. While the Masters has crowned Hall of Famers and rewarded players with a certain kind of game, we've also seen Danny Willett, Sergio Garcia and Reed win from 2015-2017, and none has won a major elsewhere, and their games are nothing alike.
Rose built quite a lead but has led after four first rounds here and never won.
Spieth said on Thursday night, with many wry smiles: "This was somewhat typical for me at the Masters, I guess. Some good golf and then some fireworks at both ends. I made really two bad swings off the tee, on 9 and 13, got away with one of them and didn't with the other, and other than that I struck the ball really well. All in all, I would have signed up for 1-under after this round.
"I felt like the bounce back after 9 was the story of the day for me.''
True. He made a triple-bogey 7 on No. 9. Had he punched out sideways from the trees and made bogey, he'd be at 3-under and tied for second.
"I've seen everything here,'' he said.
Former 3M Open champion Michael Thompson tees off at 10:06 Central.
At 12:48, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy tee off.
Rahm didn't practice much this week in the wake of becoming a father for the first time. He and Schauffele are even par. McIlroy is 4-over but has a history of making a run at some point, if futilely.