Four things we learned Friday at the Masters

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Four things we learned Friday at the Masters

PGA Tour

Four things we learned Friday at the Masters

 

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Everyone saw that leader Patrick Reed has a better grasp of Augusta National after a second-round 66 on Friday. His day included three stretches of three birdies. We also learned… 

4. Wind wreaked havoc on everyone but Reed 

When Tiger Woods dumped his 12th hole tee shot into Rae’s Creek, the wind gusted into this face while the 11th green flag lay still. His playing partner Tommy Fleetwood played the hole downwind just moments later.

That, in a nutshell summed up the confounding wind conditions.

“I felt like I hit some really good shots on a lot of holes and just got kind of gusted by an opposite wind, or we’re one or two yards away from being phenomenal,” Jordan Spieth said.

Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott discussed the wind as they walked up the 18th hole and could only laugh at the fluctuations in direction and strength.

“I think we basically played the last six or seven holes downwind,” McIlroy said after a second-round 71 left him T-4 and five back of Reed. “The angles of the holes are all over the place.  It’s just the way the wind funnels up and down these fairways with the big, tall trees.”

McIlroy said you could throw common sense out the window Friday.

“That’s why it’s so tricky because a lot of these holes run parallel to each other that should be just a straight‑across wind but if it goes a tiny bit this way or a tiny bit that way, it makes you look stupid,” he said.

The second-round scoring increased in Round 2, with the field average up to 74.563 from Thursday’s 73.793. 

3. If Tiger could play par 5s better…

Woods finished 36 holes at 4 over (T-40) having played the par 5s in 2 under. In Thursday’s first round he labored but earned his spot on the weekend thanks to a pair of back-nine birdies at No. 13 and No. 15. 

Given that Augusta National’s four par 5s played as the four easiest holes through 36 holes, Woods can look to the leaderboard for par-5 play inspiration. The top-5 through 36 holes on the par 5s:

Patrick Reed -8

Henrik Stenson -4

Marc Leishman -4 (with a 7)

Rory McIlroy -5

Jordan Spieth -6

Major championship pedigree Is always helpful at Augusta

The top 14 after 36 holes consists of eight former major championship winners including two Masters champions. 

Henrik Stenson, McIlroy, Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose and Bubba Watson all have at least one major title and plenty on the line, from McIlroy’s career Grand Slam to almost-certain Hall of Fame status for the rest. 

Contrast that with Reed, who has his second lead or co-lead after any round in a major, but had yet to register a major championship top 10 until last August’s PGA Championship (T-2).  Asked what the number of major winners chasing meant to him, Reed was succinct.

“Nothing,” he said.

A total of 16 major championship winners made the cut including 55-year-old Vijay Singh (T-23)  and 58-year-old Fred Couples (T-28). In 2017 14 major winners made the cut, including Couples (T18). 

1. The Weather Forecast for Saturday stinks 

Other than a brief pre-dawn downpour, Wednesday’s expected weather never materialized. Will Mother Nature have mercy on Saturday’s third round?

The on-site forecasters have not budged from their bleak assessment for days, except to add the possibility of thunderstorms.

The official forecast as of 6 p.m. ET Friday: “Scattered showers in the morning, then rain likely with a few thunderstorms possible during the afternoon, especially after 2 p.m. Rain may be heavy at times.”

Rainfall amounts are forecast at 0.60-1.00” with a low of 60 degrees and a high of 70.

Winds are expected to be SSW at 5-10 mph in the morning,
shifting to SW and W winds of 10-15 mph. Gusts to 20 mph during the afternoon are pos
sible. 

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