Pack again chasing Spieth at Masters

2016-04-08 09:01
Jordan Spieth (AFP)

Augusta - A pack of lesser-known players is pursuing Jordan Spieth at the Masters, and some other big names are lurking not too far behind.

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 around 10:00.

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."

Read more on:    masters  |  jordan spieth  |  golf

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