(Editor’s Note: This article was authored by Jeff Smith for www.progolfweekly.com)
Patrick Reed followed his first-round 69 with a 6-under 66 on Friday and will take a two-stroke lead into the weekend at the 82nd edition of the Masters.
Reed, who had never posted a sub-70 round at Augusta National prior to yesterday, finished his second day in Georgia with three bogeys offset by nine birdies, highlighted by three-straight out of the gate on Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
“To be able to get off to 3-under through three, you know, couldn’t really have built my confidence any higher than that,” said Reed, who leads the field with 14 birdies.
Two back of Reed is Marc Leishman, who posted a 67 to reach 7 under, good for solo-second. Leishman’s card was comprised of one bogey offset by four birdies and an eagle.
“This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world, if not the biggest, the one I want to win the most along with the other three majors,” said Leishman, when asked about nerves heading into the weekend.
“But at the end of the day it’s a game of golf.”
While Reed and Leishman will be seeking major title No.1 this weekend, the next five players chasing the lead duo are all major winners.
One of those is 2016 Open champion Henrik Stenson who made birdie on 17 to post a 70 and reach 5-under par, one clear of multi-major winners Jordan Spieth (3) and Rory McIlroy (4).
A double bogey-bogey start led to a surprising 4-over 40 front nine for overnight leader Spieth. But the reigning Open Champion settled down and played his inward nine bogey-free with two birdies to sign for a 73, and two-day score of 4-under par 140.
Credit: Getty Images/Jamie Squire
“With the way the back nine was playing today, the wheels could have come off there,” said Spieth, who hit 7 of 14 fairways on Friday.
“But I made some nice par saves and was able to grind out some phenomenal second‑shot iron shots and good two‑putt birdies.”
McIlroy also struggled on the front nine (37) but played his final-nine holes at 2-under 34 to post a second-round 71, and join Spieth at 4 under.
One further back at 3 under are the two top-ranked players in the world, Dustin Johnson (No. 1) and Justin Thomas (No. 2). The 33-year old Johnson offset a lone bogey with three birdies and an eagle to sign for a 68, while Thomas rode three-straight birdies (Nos. 13-15) to a 5-under 67.
“I feel like I’m in a good position. I’m in a good spot going into tomorrow,” said Johnson.
A logjam of six players sit T8, including three more major winners in Louis Oosthuizen (71), Justin Rose (70), and Bubba Watson (69), who joined Tony Finau (74), Rickie Fowler (72), and Charley Hoffman (73) at 2-under par.
Tiger Woods posted a second-round 75 to sit T40 at 4-over par. Defending champion Sergio Garcia followed up his 81 with a 6-over 78 to finish his two days of defending at 19-over par. Garcia missed the cut by 13 strokes.
1 Patrick Reed -9
2 Marc Leishman -7
3 Henrik Stenson -5
4 Rory McIlroy -4
4 Jordan Spieth -4
6 Dustin Johnson -3
6 Justin Thomas -3
8 Tony Finau -2
8 Charley Hoffman -2
8 Rickie Fowler -2
8 Bubba Watson -2
8 Louis Oosthuizen -2
8 Justin Rose -2
14 Jon Rahm -1
14 Matt Kuchar -1
18 Hideki Matsuyama E
18 Tommy Fleetwood E
18 Zach Johnson E
23 Rafael Cabrera Bello +1
28 Fred Couples +2
28 Jason Day +2
40 Bernhard Langer +4
40 Tiger Woods +4
40 Adam Scott +4
46 Phil Mickelson +5
NOTABLES MISSING CUT
Cut line was +5
Charl Schwartzel +6
Shubhankar Sharma +7
Thomas Pieters +7
Danny Willett +7
Alex Noren +9
Sergio Garcia +18
Driving: 301.3 yards (6th)
Fairways: 78.6%, 22/28 (5th)
Greens: 66.7%, 24/36 (T14)
Putts/GIR: 2.125 (1st)
Scores: 0 Eagles, 14 Birdies, 17 Pars, 5 Bogeys
Par-5: -8 (8 Birdies)
Par-4: -3 (6 Birdies, 11 Pars, 3 Bogeys)
Par-3: +2 (4 Pars, 2 Bogeys)
Round 1: E (Bogey, Par, Birdie)
Round 2: -1 (Par, Par, Birdie)
“We all know the kind of talent he is. Just a beautiful putter, just a great combo for this golf course.”
– Tiger Woods, on Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed The Masters
Jeff is a Producer for Pro Golf Weekly. His work can be found at www.progolfweekly.com