News for Friday, April 9, 2010

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Friday at the Masters: A quick 18

Eighteen stories, statistics and observations from a trying second round at the Masters.

Gay bows out early in Masters debut

Brian Gay finally made it to the Masters, but after two rounds, Gay is off to Hilton Head to defend his title next week.

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Smith relishes Masters with father on the bag

Shadows started to creep over the 18th fairway Friday evening at Augusta National as Nathan Smith and his father, Larry, walked towards the green.

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Several notables to make early Augusta exit

When the cut fell and 48 players had advanced into weekend play at 3 over or better, it was almost more interesting to study the list of 47 who left early.

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Campbell sees drastic improvement in Round 2

There were three rounds in the 60s posted Friday at a difficult Augusta National. Co-leaders Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood both broke 70. The other player? Chad Campbell, a Masters runner-up in 2009 who struggled to a first-round 79.

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Manassero, 16, makes cut, history at Augusta

Matteo Manassero already made history this week when he hit his first tee shot. The 16-year-old is the youngest competitor in Masters history.

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Despite injury, it’s a big thumbs up for Kim

Anthony Kim has a bad left thumb. Soon he’ll have surgery to repair a torn ligament.

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Commentary: Englishmen making a charge at major glory

A pair of Englishmen are tied for the lead entering the weekend at the Masters, which raises a couple questions, writes James Achenbach: 1.) Where is Paul Revere? and 2.) Can they hold off Tiger Woods?

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Guess who’s knocking on the door?

Guess who is in the middle of the pack at the 74th Masters? The Big Lefty, two-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, that’s who.

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Benjamin has emotional end to the Masters

Perhaps what made Brad Benjamin’s Masters experience so emotional was that it was so tantalizing.

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Watson clings to unlikely Masters hopes

Tom Watson will not go quietly this time around at Augusta National. Even after tapping in for bogey on the 18th hole to conclude his second round at the Masters, Watson’s eyes twinkled when asked if it was time to get realistic about a 60-year-old man winning the Masters.

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A closer look at Fred Couples’ new kicks

Fred Couples created a stir at the Masters not just because of his play, but because of his sporty Ecco Street Premiere kicks.

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Augusta playing mean in Round 2

Masters contestants have played Augusta National two days in a row. But it hardly played like the same course.

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Tiger returns with new Nike driver, wedge

Tiger Woods returned to golf at the Masters, but his old Nike SQ Dymo driver was nowhere to be found.

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What took you so long, Ricky?

The guy who finished atop the leaderboard at the last major – one Y.E. Yang – made the turn on Friday still on the board at the Masters as well, standing at 4 under par through 27 holes.

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The most prominent storyline remains: Tiger

The second round of the Masters lacked low scores and roars, but the most prominent storyline remains, writes Sean Martin: Tiger Woods is in contention.

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Choi, Kuchar display sharp recovery skills

The incredible thing about Augusta National is that you see some shots you just don’t see anywhere else. K.J. Choi yanked his drive into the creek way left on the par-5 second hole – that’s right, there’s a creek way left on No. 2, the only water you’ll find on the front nine at Augusta National.

Morrison leads Madeira Islands Open

England’s James Morrison shot a 7-under 65 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Scotland’s George Murray after the second round of the Madeira Islands Open.

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Young team selected for Curtis Cup

The USGA has finalized the 2010 Curtis Cup team. Among a team full of young players are 15-year-old Alexis Thompson and 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur and WAPL champion Jennifer Song.

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Couples tumbles down leaderboard after 75

Fred Couples made history Thursday at the Masters by shooting a career-low round and grabbing the first-round lead. Friday was a lot less fun, writes Dan Mirocha.

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Westwood, Poulter share lead; Tiger 2 back

With the sun shining bright and Augusta National showing its teeth, Tiger Woods and just about everyone else at the Masters played a game of survival Friday.

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Commentary: Campbell to put the clubs away, regroup

By the time he reached the green at his 35th hole, the par-4 17th in Friday’s second round of the Masters, even the scorekeepers at Augusta National Golf Club had reached their limit with Michael Campbell.

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Alabama emerging from SEC pack

When Mic Potter took over the Alabama women’s golf program in 2005, the Crimson Tide were hardly a threat in the ultra-competitive SEC. Not anymore. The Tide are No. 7, with their sights fixed on a conference title and beyond. Julie Williams reports.

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Jaidee withdraws from Masters with injury

Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand has withdrawn from the Masters because of an elbow injury.

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Nielsen: Masters ratings up 47 percent

First indications are that Tiger Woods' return has increased television viewership of the Masters by 50 percent.

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Report: FAA investigated Augusta flyover

While the Greenjackets of Augusta National control every aspect of what occurs on the grounds of the “Cathedral of Golf,” they can’t control the air, which is why a small plane roamed the skies above the Masters Thursday with messages of mockery in tow for Tiger Woods.

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Green is the theme at the Masters

While the green jacket remains hung in the Butler cabin, many players (Tiger included) seem to be getting in the right frame of mind – by wearing green!

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Breaking down Round 1 stats from Augusta

From the stats department, some numbers to chew on as you settle in to watch the Masters on Friday:

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So, that’s where Watson’s ball went

Tom Watson’s 2010 Masters hadn’t yet begun when he unlocked a mystery about his trip here 27 years ago.

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Commentary: We need a pace-of-play revolution

Millions of ordinary golfers can’t fathom why the game has come to a grinding halt. More importantly, they can’t figure out why something isn’t being done about it.

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