Bubba Watson takes Masters lead

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- After carding an opening-round 69, Bubba Watson didn’t make his first bogey of the tournament until the 9th hole Friday. But he then rebounded by making consecutive birdies at 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16, a surge that pushed him out to a second-round 68.

He’s 7-under par, three clear of John Senden and four of Thomas Bjorn and Jonas Blixt.

Watson thrived on another day of high wind gusts and subsequent high scores. How did he do it?

“Just close my eyes and putt,” he replied.  “You know, they went in.

“I'm a professional golfer. I made it to the Masters. So, obviously, I can play a little bit. Right now it's working out. For the first two days, I look like I know what I'm doing and hopefully the next two days I can play just as good.”

Watson hit it to three feet on the famed 12th holes with a 9-iron. All he needed was a 7-iron to reach the 13th green in two. He made a long birdie putt on No. 14, two putted the par-5 15th and stiffed a 9-iron into 16.

“The roars are good,” he said. “But if you watch me throughout the last two holes, I keep my head down. I don’t get energized, so I don't get pumped up. I just try to stay focused on what I'm doing and committed to what I'm doing.”

Louis Oosthuizen had things rolling Friday -- for a time -- as well. Oosthuizen was the runner-up here in 2012, losing a playoff to Watson.

And after a solid 69 on Thursday, the South African got as low as 4 under Friday when he threw a dart with his second shot on the par 5 13th hole, knocking in an effortless eagle.

But two holes later, Oosthuizen’s aggressiveness led to his unraveling when his second shot into the par 5 15th sailed long and his subsequent chip – struck delicately and with plenty of touch – couldn’t hold the green, rolling down an embankment and into the water. Oosthuizen made a triple bogey 8, finished with a 3-over 75 and heads to the weekend at even par.

Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, finished the day at 5-over, in danger of not making the cut.



Tribune wire services contributed to this report

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