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Top-ranked Dustin Johnson among five players tied for Masters lead

Dustin Johnson hits a shot Nov. 13, 2020, at the Masters. He was a co-leader after the day's play finished.
Following rounds of 65 and 70, Dustin Johnson is among four co-leaders at nine under in the Masters. The suspended second round is set to be completed Saturday morning.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

Much of the talk leading up to this year’s Masters surrounded the swing-for-the-fences crowd, the young guys with their explosive drivers who threatened to hammer Augusta National into submission.

Overlooked were the old guys.

But two rounds into the tournament, some of the most experienced players are hanging tough.

“It actually makes me feel older when I play with these young guys and I see how far they hit it and how short I hit it,” said two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, who finished his first round Friday morning with a 68 and followed that with a 73 in the afternoon.

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At 63, he will be the oldest player to make the cut at Augusta National — a cut that that didn’t take place until the suspended second round was completed Saturday morning. Averaging 263.5 yards per drive, he is longer than only three players in the field.

It is eerily quiet at the Masters this year, since there are no galleries. And the abnormalities are affecting more than golfers would think.

During a round when four players shared the lead at nine under par — Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Abraham Ancer and Cameron Smith — three-time champion Phil Mickelson shot a 70 to linger in the mix at five under through two rounds.

“I’m hitting the ball great, and I’m putting awful,” said Mickelson, 50. “I’ve been putting well this year, and if I get this fixed for the weekend, I’m going to make a run.”

Bernhard Langer hits a bunker shot in the Masters on Nov. 13, 2020, in Augusta, Ga.
Bernhard Langer, at 63 years old, is at three under after rounds of 68 and 73 and will make the cut.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Defending champion Tiger Woods, 44, who won his fifth green jacket last year and became the second-oldest player to do so, got through 10 holes at even par Friday before finishing the round with a 71 to sit at five under for the tournament.

Ancer, playing in his first Masters, had six birdies to ascend to the top of the leaderboard. And Smith had an eagle and three consecutive birdies on his final four holes.

“It’s obviously good to be in contention on a weekend,” said Smith of Australia, whose best finish at the Masters was a tie for fifth in 2018. “I feel like I’ve been there enough where I can have a good crack at it.”

Johnson, No. 1 in the world rankings, had a three-putt bogey on the 14th and a bogey on 15 after his approach came up short and rolled back into the water. He still finished his round at two under for a share of the lead.

“I think it’s going to be soft enough to where you’re going to have to attack the golf course and play aggressive and keep swinging like I am,” he said. “I like where I’m at. I like my position.”

It looks like sand from a tropical beach, but the material gleaming from the bunkers at Augusta National actually comes from the mountains of North Carolina.

Johnson’s unwavering consistency is remarkable. Rory McIlroy, who was in his group, was asked about Johnson’s play.

“Great,” McIlroy said. “Same as he’s been playing the last few months. See ball, hit ball, see putt, hole putt, go to the next. Yeah, he makes the game so simple or makes it look so simple at times for sure.”

Bryson DeChambeau, the tour’s longest hitter and a favorite to win the Masters, had his share of struggles, including losing his drive in the rough on No. 3 and winding up with a triple bogey. He barely made the cut after finishing his second round at even par for the tournament.

Asked if he was involved in the search for DeChambeau’s missing ball, Rahm summed up the power driver’s day with a two-word response:

“Which one?”


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