The 2014 Masters is at its official half way point and Bubba Watson mastered the challenging winds on a tough day at Augusta National to sleep on a 3-shot lead. Watson is probably remembering what it is like to win the first Major Championship of the season and trying to harness that feeling for 36 more holes. Watson opened with a 3-under par 69 on day one to put him in the mix. On Friday, Watson shot an even par 36 to open the front nine. On the back he caught lightening in a bottle rattling off five straight birdies starting at the par-3 12th en route to a 4-under 32 on the back nine of Augusta National. The rest of the field is lucky that he does not have a 4-shot lead. Watson missed a shot par saving put on 18 to finish his round with a bogey.
Defending champion, Adam Scott and the 20-year old Jordan Spieth are both four back at 3-under par. Three time 2014 PGA Tour winner and current FedExCup points leader, Jimmy Walker, is five back at 2-under par.
It is hard to explain how challenging the winds were on Friday and just how often they changed direction. One example was the Els-Mickelson group where both players were roughly the same distance away from the green. In matter of seconds Els played a 5-wood and Mickelson played a 5-iron.
Speaking of Phil Mickelson, he just could not overcome the errors this week and missed the cut by one-shot, his first missed cut at the Masters since 1997. In fact, Mickelson would love to take away either or both of the triple-bogeys he carded in the first two rounds (triple-bogey seven at the 7th Thursday and a triple-bogey six at the 12th Friday). Mickelson did make a valiant effort, with three birdies in the final five holes, but it was not enough to play the weekend. He was not the only notable player to miss the cut at the first major of 2014.
Sergio Garcia was a popular pick to make a run at the 2014 Masters but Garcia could not getting it going after he bogeyed 14 on Thursday playing his final 23 holes in 6-over par. Zach Johnson shot even par on Friday but could never recover from the birdie free opening round 6-over 78. Dustin Johnson, another sheik pick to make noise this week, shot a colorful 5-over 77 on Thursday making Friday a challenge. He was making a comeback 1-under par through Friday’s opening 10 holes but lost momentum at 11 and came home in 3-over.
Notable tee times for Saturday
10:15 AM – Rory McIlroy
11:55 AM – Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter
12:15 PM – Hunter Mahan and Justin Rose
1:35 PM – Lucas Glover and Matt Kuchar
2:15 PM – Fred Couples and Jimmy Walker
2:25 PM – Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth
2:35 PM – Thomas Bjorn and Jonas Blixt
2:45 PM – John Senden and Bubba Watson