Justin Rose leads Masters but McIlroy, Johnson and Garcia miss cut
List of those not to make weekend reads like a roll call of golfing champions
Justin Rose maintained his lead through the midway point of the Masters, remaining at 7-under par with an even-par 72 in the second round.
It always going to be hard to match the heights of his scorching opening round, and so it proved. The England's four-shot cushion was cut to one after Will Zalatoris (68) and Brian Harman (69) moved to 6 under.
Another shot back at 5 under were 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth (68) and Australia's Marc Leishman (67).
As the field of 88 was reduced to 54 for the weekend, notable players who failed to reach the 3-over cut line included defending champion Dustin Johnson (5 over), 2017 champion Sergio Garcia of Spain (4 over), four-time major winners Brooks Koepka (5 over), Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (6 over), and 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson (7 over).
Also headed home were Matt Kuchar (4 over) and England's Lee Westwood (5 over).
Before Rose caught fire on Thursday he had endured a challenging front 9. Friday proved no different as he racked up four bogeys in his first seven holes.
Instead of getting flustered, Rose went to work on the back nine with no bogeys and birdies at Nos. 13, 14 and 16 to get his round back to even on the day.
"I just changed my mindset a little bit and started to play match play against the golf course," Rose said.
"I scratched a line on my scorecard and told myself I was three down and could I go ahead and beat the golf course from that point on.
"I had a putt on 18 to win my (personal) match 1-up but unfortunately it just slipped by. But an honourable draw."
Rose might become more of a scoreboard watcher on the weekend as he sets his sights on his first Masters title after runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2017, when he fell in a playoff to Garcia.
Recovered from a back injury last month that occurred at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he is prepared to do the heavy lifting required in order to don the victor's famous green jacket late Sunday.
"We know the winner of this tournament largely comes out of the final pairing on Sunday," Rose said.
"I'd much rather kind of get up the lead as early as we can (Saturday) to try to hold that position going into Sunday."
Zalatoris, a 24-year-old who is playing on the PGA Tour this season through special temporary membership status, put himself in contention with his own impressive back nine.
I hit great putts that just happened to go in
After playing the front nine at 1 over, Zalatoris blistered the back with five birdies, three of which came on his final three holes.
"I knew I was playing good golf and I had two pretty good looks on 3 and 8 that I let get away from me," Zalatoris said.
"I knew it was in there somewhere but when I made the par putt on 10, that was a big momentum boost, and making a couple 30-footers on 11 and 12, that's just a big bonus. I hit great putts that just happened to go in."
Others poised to make a charge on Saturday were a group of six at 4 under, including Tony Finau and Austria's Bernd Wiesberger, who tied for low round of the day at 6-under 66.
Also at 4 under is Justin Thomas (67) and South Korea's Si Woo Kim (69), who broke his putter at the 15th green yet closed with three consecutive pars while putting with a fairway wood.
Defending US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau made a move with a 67 on Friday and is in a group of four tied for 17th at 1 under.
Defending PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa (69) was in a group of four tied for 13th at 2 under.
Patrick Reed (75), the 2018 champion, will head into Saturday's third round at 1 over.
Just able to get into the weekend was three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson. The 50-year-old shot an even-par 72 on Friday with a two-day total of 3 over, while 55-year-old Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain (71), a two-time champion, was at 2 over.
Published: April 10, 2021 04:19 AM