Augusta - A pack of lesser-known players is pursuing
Jordan Spieth at the Masters, and some other big names are lurking not too far
Danny Lee and Shane Lowry - surprisingly
tied for second two strokes behind Spieth's 6-under 66 - get a couple hours
head start in Friday's second round before Spieth resumes his attack on Augusta
National just before 13:00.
World No 1 Jason Day, who struggled on the back
nine Thursday to fall six strokes behind Spieth, will be back on the course
Spieth is hoping to match Arnold Palmer's
record Masters streak of finishing six rounds with the lead. It won't be any
easier than battling the winds at Augusta National this week.
A pack of five international players is
three strokes back at 69. The group includes Englishmen Paul Casey, Justin Rose
and Ian Poulter, Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Spaniard Sergio Garcia.
Spieth and Rose are the only major winners
in the front-running group.
Spieth wouldn't be at all surprised if No.
1-ranked Day rebounds strongly from his back-nine struggles.
"I've seen Jason get hot before,"
Spieth said. "I've played with him, I want to say 75 percent of the rounds
the last two months of last year's season. It's nothing new. It's nothing shocking.
"We're through one round. No matter
what they finish at, they'll be through one round. Jason and Shane both have
the potential to get to 7, 8, 9, 10 under."
As he said, there are plenty of birdies,
bogeys "and everything in between" to come. Including some before he
takes the course again.
"We know how to win this golf
tournament, and we believe in our process, and if the putts are dropping, then
hopefully it goes our way," Spieth said.
There are other big second-day story lines
to watch, beyond even Spieth's encore round.
Perhaps the two biggest: Will Tom Watson
make the cut in his final Masters? How will Day rebound from Thursday's 41 on
the back nine after making the turn at 5 under?
The 66-year-old Watson isn't chasing a
third green jacket. His stated goal is to become the oldest player to make the
cut at Augusta National. His opening 74 put him in position to do just that. He
opened on Friday in 43rd and needs to be in the top 50 after Round 2.
"Seventy-four is not bad for old
folks," Watson said.
Day had a rough final nine holes. He
started with a bogey on No 10, then went bogey-triple bogey-bogey on Nos.
15-17 and starts the second round at even par, not such a bad position. That's
thanks to a terrific front nine.
He tees off a few hours before Spieth and
isn't altogether displeased with his starting point to the last few days.
"I've just got to slowly try to inch
my way back into this tournament if I can," Day said, "and be patient
with myself and hopefully I'm there by Sunday."