Scottie Scheffler takes five-shot lead as Tiger Woods makes Masters cut
Tiger Woods proved again Friday that his reconstructed legs can take the punishment of walking Augusta National.
And — at least at the midway point — Scottie Scheffler is threatening to run away with the Masters.
On a blustery day when gusting winds pushed golf balls in all sorts of unpredictable directions, Scheffler showed why he’s ranked No. 1 in the world and has won three tournaments in the last six weeks.
While players all around him saw their rounds flutter away in the breeze, Scheffler shot a five-under-par 67 — two strokes better than his outstanding Thursday round — to take a five-shot lead into the weekend. It was a heady performance for a player who, having surveyed the early scores Friday, said he would have been satisfied with an even-par afternoon round.
The classic white coveralls worn by caddies at the Masters have a long history, and tradition is the winner’s caddie keeps the outfit as a memento.
“The front nine was such a grind,” said Scheffler, who overcame two early bogeys with seven birdies the rest of the way. “The wind was crazy. There was some times where we saw the sand blowing up out of the bunkers out there. It was ridiculous. I think we were a little bit fortunate that it did die down a little bit towards the end of the day.”
As expected, Woods attracted the biggest gallery by far as he continues his stunning comeback from a catastrophic rollover car accident 14 months ago. He appeared to swing more freely Friday and hit 10 of 14 fairways, and though he struggled with four bogeys in the first five holes, never veered irrevocably off course. He finished with six bogeys and four birdies, and is one-over par — well below the four-over cut line.
The five-time Masters winner has made the cut at Augusta 22 times in a row, the longest active streak by far. The Masters record of 23 is held by Fred Couples and Gary Player.
The Saturday forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s and winds up to 16 mph.
“Tomorrow is going to be tough,” Woods said. “It’s going to be windy. It’s going to be cool. It’s going to be the Masters that I think the Masters Committee has been looking forward to for a number of years. We haven’t had it like this.
“It’s going to be exciting, and it’s going to be fun for all of us.”
Some familiar names didn’t make the cut. Among the players who failed were Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau.
Justin Thomas recovered from an opening-round 76 to share low-round honors with Scheffler at 67.
“It was just one of those weird days yesterday where I just couldn’t get focused,” he said of his Thursday performance. “I couldn’t get into the round. I just couldn’t get into the moment, which is sad and a bummer on the first round of the Masters.
Masters memorabilia is a bustling business in Augusta, Ga., which happens to be home of the world’s most exclusive golf course, Augusta National.
“But I’m really proud of myself. I very easily could be going home right now, and not only am I not, but I’m in a really good spot going into this weekend.”
Thomas is at minus-one, as is Collin Morikawa, who followed a 73 with a 70. He has won two majors — the 2020 PGA Championship and last year’s British Open — and said he’s just angling to be within striking range in his final nine holes of the tournament.
“It’s been a lot about winning, and that’s nothing wrong against that, but sometimes you have to put things in perspective and just give yourself a chance and just let things kind of fall out from there,” he said. “Hopefully by Sunday we can do that.”
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