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Jeff Babineau
Rory McIlroy used a solid finish to salvage a 4-over 76 and a spot on the weekend at the Masters.
Rory McIlroy used a solid finish to salvage a 4-over 76 and a spot on the weekend at the Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Friday morning, Rory McIlroy stood in the thick of things at Augusta National Golf Club, but my, how one’s day can change quickly at the Masters. At nearly 7:30 p.m., playing in the last threesome of the second round, he stood over a 4-foot par putt at 18 just to make it to the weekend.

McIlroy made his putt, finishing off a rocky 5-over 77, and he’ll be first off on Saturday (10:15 a.m.) at the 78th Masters, one of 51 players to make the cut (low 50 and ties). McIlroy made ...

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Alex Miceli
Bubba Watson leans on his bag while caddie Ted Scott checks a yardage during Friday's second round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.
Bubba Watson leans on his bag while caddie Ted Scott checks a yardage during Friday's second round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.

Some can debate the value of a caddie, but even when Bubba Watson appears to be in top form he's constantly working with his trusted assistant. The 2012 champion surged to the Masters lead with a second-round 68 on the strength of five straight back-nine birdies. Lee Westwood, meanwhile, found some polish for his game that hasn't been seen recently and the Walrus says he's probably made his last stand at Augusta National.

Here are 5 Things to know from Friday at the Masters.

• • •

1. WATSON'S LEFT-HAND MAN? Ted Scott had a ringside seat to the ...

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Beth Ann Nichols
Matt Fitzpatrick during the second round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.
Matt Fitzpatrick during the second round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Matt Fitzpatrick came to the 18th hole needing a birdie to make the cut. That’s a tall order for any player at the Masters, let alone a 145-pound teenager from Sheffield, England.

Alas, the 10-foot birdie putt slid past the hole. On to Hilton Head Island, S.C., where he’ll play in the RBC Heritage next week on a sponsor exemption. His caddie, Loren Duncan, is already there, having been replaced this week for having improper footwear.

“Disappointed. Obviously to miss by one is very disappointing,” Fitzpatrick said. “But it's just one of them things ...

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Jim McCabe
Phil Mickelson followed an opening-round 76 with a 1-over 73 on Friday to miss the cut by one shot at Augusta National.
Phil Mickelson followed an opening-round 76 with a 1-over 73 on Friday to miss the cut by one shot at Augusta National.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – For so many Aprils his Masters anxiety began, as romanticists claim it does, on the back nine on Sunday.

But for Phil Mickelson, this year it began over dinner on Friday. He was relegated to watching others try and get him inside the cut.

Such is the mystifying metamorphosis of Mickelson here at Augusta National that he left his cherished corner of the golf world on a sun-splashed Friday afternoon not knowing if he would be driving down Magnolia Lane for weekend play. Once an icon, he’s now an enigma – and if you’re having trouble getting ...

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Nick Masuda
Fred Couples acknowledges the gallery after his final birdie of the day, making a 10-footer on No. 13.
Fred Couples acknowledges the gallery after his final birdie of the day, making a 10-footer on No. 13.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – We've seen this Masters storyline before . . . in 2010 . . . 2011 . . . 2012 . . . and, for good measure, in 2013.

So why should we expect anything else in 2014?

By all accounts, the 54-year-old Fred Couples should be overpowered by Augusta National. So why has he been inside the top 10 after 36 holes for the past four years?

Actually, make that five years.

The fan favorite took on difficult conditions Friday afternoon and returned a 1-under 71, moving him to 2 under on the tournament and in a tie for seventh.

"Well, I'm averaging 76 the last two Saturdays ...

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Golfweek Staff
Bubba Watson during Friday's second round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.
Bubba Watson during Friday's second round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.

Second-place to start Friday at Augusta National had read like a veritable who's who of recent Masters: defending champion Adam Scott, 2012 winner Bubba Watson and 2012 runner-up Louis Oosthuizen.

It was Watson who charged to the lead, rolling off five straight back-nine birdies en route to a 68.

Recap the highlights of the second round of 2014 Masters right here – and scroll down to catch up on this week's coverage!

• • •

Update #69: 7:23 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy will play ...

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Adam Schupak
Carl Lohren enjoys an annual trek to Augusta National's eighth tee, where he studies the swings of the world's top players (shown here during the 2007 Senior PGA Championship).
Carl Lohren enjoys an annual trek to Augusta National's eighth tee, where he studies the swings of the world's top players (shown here during the 2007 Senior PGA Championship).

AUGUSTA, Ga. – One of my traditions at the Masters is to mosey on down to the eighth hole, the one they call Yellow Jasmine, and sit with Carl Lohren, a 76-year-old PGA professional and longtime teacher in the Metropolitan PGA section who has spent a lifetime studying the golf swing.

There’s an old story about the time the car Lohren was riding in stopped at a traffic light. Lohren stepped outside to experiment with a new idea about his swing. The driver didn't notice this. When the light turned green the car sped off and Lohren was left ...

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Jeff Rude
Bubba Watson during the second round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.
Bubba Watson during the second round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Bubba Ball is at the top of the Masters marquee again, this time buoyed by five consecutive birdies. Bomb it, curve it, wedge it, putt it. He’s hitting green after green and, midway anyway, is in the best position to wear green, what with a three-stroke advantage a year after that hangover he didn’t know how to cure.

In an era of gurus and swing positions, Watson is an anomaly because of his power and self-taught process. He plays golf as if he’s boomeranging Wiffle balls in the backyard – only his Wiffle ball might travel ...

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Jeff Babineau
After his chip shot sped off the green, Louis Oosthuizen searches for the spot his ball entered the pond at Augusta National's par-5 15th hole on Friday.
After his chip shot sped off the green, Louis Oosthuizen searches for the spot his ball entered the pond at Augusta National's par-5 15th hole on Friday.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The beauty of Augusta National, from the standpoint of excitement, is that danger lurks everywhere, and intervenes when one least expects it. Louis Oosthuizen, two years ago a runner-up here, was sailing along nicely on the back nine early Friday in the second round of the 78th Masters. He’d made a bold eagle at 13 to move to 4 under par, and had a green-light situation at the reachable par-5 15th to potentially add one more eagle and gather more crystal for his cupboard back home in South Africa.

The wind was tricky, and he’d just ...

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Beth Ann Nichols
Oliver Goss shot a 1-under 71 in the second round of the 2014 Masters and will most likely be the only amateur to make the cut.
Oliver Goss shot a 1-under 71 in the second round of the 2014 Masters and will most likely be the only amateur to make the cut.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Oliver Goss won the 2012 Western Australian Open by birdieing the last two holes in regulation play and then birdieing four of five holes in a sudden-death playoff.

“He’s really good in pressure situations,” said Ritchie Smith, a national coach for Golf Australia.

The amateur Goss proved that point Friday at Augusta, scrambling to shoot 1-under 71 as the wind began to swirl. The Tennessee sophomore’s 3-over total means he’ll celebrate his 20th birthday with a Saturday tee time at the Masters.

“I’m really proud of myself for stepping it up when I needed ...

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Nick Masuda
Thomas Bjorn makes a birdie putt on the 16th hole during the second round of the 2014 Masters.
Thomas Bjorn makes a birdie putt on the 16th hole during the second round of the 2014 Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – There's something about the second round at Augusta National that seems to resonate with Thomas Bjorn.

The Dane fired a 4-under 68 – currently the best round of the day – to vault from 1 over to 3 under and is firmly in contention.

The 68 is only his third-best score in the second round, having posted 67s in 2002 and 2005. The latter put him in second place before weekend rounds of 71-81 knocked him back to a T-25 finish.

"It was a good one. It was right up there. It's a tricky golf course," Bjorn said ...

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Nick Masuda
Marc Leishman got off to a hot start on Friday, including an impressive birdie on the opening hole.
Marc Leishman got off to a hot start on Friday, including an impressive birdie on the opening hole.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – If we could get all of our readers inside the gates at Augusta National, we would.

So the next-best thing we could think of is to use myself as your eyes and ears as the Masters wore on this week, providing some commentary, some one-liners, some observations – all from the course.

So continue to check back right here as I let you in on what is on my Masters mind throughout the day:

1 p.m.

NOW YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL . . . A day after Luke Donald's "pretty dumb mistake" on the ninth hole that led to ...

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April 11, 2014 | 7:37 a.m.

SCORES: The Masters, Round 2

Follow the second-round leaderboard from the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.
Follow the second-round leaderboard from the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.

If you are not automatically redirected, click here.

Adam Schupak
Jordan Spieth during Thursday's first round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.
Jordan Spieth during Thursday's first round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – When Jonas Blixt won the PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open in October 2012, he thought he had punched his ticket to his first Masters. Only Blixt didn’t know that, at the time, winning a Fall Series event didn’t earn an invite to April’s big dance. He was crestfallen. One year later, he took care of business, winning the Greenbrier Classic and the right to play Augusta National this week. In front of family and friends, Blixt made his Masters debut and enjoyed every minute of it.

“I just got a good feeling being on ...

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Nick Masuda
Luke Donald received a two-stroke penalty for touching the sand with his club in between shots.
Luke Donald received a two-stroke penalty for touching the sand with his club in between shots.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – It went from bad to worse for Luke Donald on Thursday at the 78th Masters.

After finishing what he thought was a rough 5-over 77, he entered the scoring building and was told that he was being assessed a two-shot penalty because his club touched the sand on the ninth hole before a shot.

His first bunker shot at the par 4 failed to make it out and in between the sand shots, his wedge touched the sand.

He took to Twitter to explain:

"Pretty dumb mistake. I can accept the odd poor shot but making a mistake ...

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