Scheffler builds 5-shot Masters lead as Tiger makes weekend


AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The wind roaring through the Georgia pines gave Tiger Woods and so many others everything they could handle Friday in the Masters. And then Scottie Scheffler made it even harder. On his debut as the new No.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The wind roaring through the Georgia pines gave Tiger Woods and so many others everything they could handle Friday in the Masters.

And then Scottie Scheffler made it even harder.

On his debut as the new world No. 1 player, Scheffler looked the part. He was bogey-free over the final 15 holes for a 5-under 67, tying the Masters record by building a five-stroke lead heading into the weekend.

Only four other players in Masters history have led by five shots after 36 holes, most recently Jordan Spieth in 2015. All have gone on to win.

“I’m putting myself in a position, where I’m in a position to win this golf tournament. I couldn’t ask for anything more after 36 holes,” Scheffler said. “My game feels like I’m in a good position. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and not overthink it.”

Scheffler, Texas Longhorn, 25, has won three of his last five PGA Tour starts and doesn’t seem outmatched at the Augusta National stage.

He was 8-under 136, five strokes clear of defending champion Hideki Matsuyama (69), former champion Charl Schwartzel (69), former British Open champion Shane Lowry (68) and leader of 18 holes Sungjae Im (74).

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., starts the weekend seven shots behind Scheffler tied for 10th after shooting a second-round 73.

Fellow Canadian Mackenzie Hughes just made the cut as he shot a 75 on Friday and sits 4-over for the championship tied for 45th.

Mike Weir, who won the Masters in 2003, was uncut on the weekend after shooting a 76 on Friday.

Woods was nine shots behind, a daunting task even on two good legs.

Despite four bogeys after five holes, Woods assembled a 74 and made it to the weekend in his first 72-hole event since the November 2020 Masters.

“Hey, I made the cut. I had a chance before the weekend,” Woods said. “I think this will be the golf course that Augusta National wants. It’s going to be faster, drier, faster. It will be a great test. »

Former Masters champion Dustin Johnson (73) led a group 2-under 142, while the group another shot behind included two-time major champion Collin Morikawa and former PGA champion Justin Thomas, whose 67 tied Scheffler for the low round of the day.

Two hours into a glorious, calm spring day in Augusta, the wind came in full force and the players held their ground. Scheffler could see sand coming out of the bunkers. The flags were torn. Scores were skyrocketing.

“I felt like I did 10 rounds with Canelo,” Sergio Garcia said of champion fighter Canelo Alvarez. This was after a hard-earned 74.

Jordan Spieth hit a deuce into Rae’s Creek and took a triple bogey on the par-3 12th. At least it was a Friday, although he missed the cut when he made a double bogey on the 18th. Adam Scott was trying to stay in the mix until he got back into the water on the 15th par-5, hits the next one over the green and takes a triple bogey.

Scheffler had no such problems, although it was not.

“I really felt like I was in a fight today,” Scheffler said.

Scheffler corrected his mistakes early and started to take control with two birdies just before making the turn. After a hard save from the right of the 11th green, he added two 12-foot birdies on the par-3 12th and a hard shot from well to the right on the par-5 13th.

By then the wind began to die down in the late afternoon and Scheffler began to pull away with two more birdies which made him a clear and difficult target this weekend.

And to think that only two months ago, he still had no victory on the PGA Tour.

Woods made it through another hike along the hilly terrain of Augusta National, his limp more visible thanks to a right leg held together with rods and screws from his car accident 14 months ago.

“I don’t feel as good as I would like,” Woods said with a smile. “It’s okay. Like I said, I have a chance to go into the weekend. Hopefully I’ll have one of those light bulb moments and light it up on the weekend. end and that I will.

His putter wasn’t helping. Not all of the key putts Woods made in the first round fell on Friday as he racked up four bogeys in his first five holes, raising questions whether his unlikely return to the Masters would last just two days.

And now there are two more.

Coming off back-to-back bogeys at the start of Amen Corner, he was heading for more trouble on the par-5 13th, except he missed enough to stay on the right side of the Rae’s Creek tributary, setting up a pitch-and-putt for bird.

“It was tough on everyone,” Woods said, and soon after a wry smile came. “Obviously there are a few people who aren’t struggling there.”

One of them would be Scheffler, who has everyone’s attention.

Another was Thomas, with whom Woods played his practice rounds last week and in the days leading up to the Masters. He opened with a 76 and spent the rest of the day sulking at what looked like a missed chance.

He capped off his 67 with three consecutive birdies along the back nine.

“I could very easily go home right now, and not only am I not, but I’m in a really good position for this weekend,” Thomas said.

He was still seven behind, though he wasn’t the least bit surprised that Scheffler was able to post such good laps to build a big lead.

“If I played like I should yesterday, I should be there with him,” Thomas said. “This place, I love it because you can birdie so much – even in conditions like this, if you plot your path and know how to go about it, you can birdie a lot. It exposes you when it gets this windy if you don’t have control of your ball.

“He’s clearly in control right now based on the last two months, so I’m not too surprised,” he added. “But yeah, I’d appreciate it if he stopped going too far.”


For more AP Masters coverage:

Doug Ferguson, Associated Press


Comments are closed.