Apr 8th, 2017
5 things we learned on Masters Friday
Plus all the best video highlight bits
Words: Keel Timmins Photography: Getty Images
Five things we learned after round 2 of the Masters
1 – Hoffman unable to keep up heroics
It was always going to be tricky for Hoffman to follow up his sublime (some say the best ever at Augusta) round yesterday – and he will probably 'take' his round of 75 today which leaves him in a very strong position, co-leading the tournament, heading into the weekend. We must not forget either that Charley played in the final group on both Saturday and Sunday in 2015, so this isn’t a new position to him. But with many world class talents waiting in the wings ready to pounce, he must keep his foot on the pedal.
2 – Major calling for Garcia?
Would anyone begrudge a major win for Sergio Garcia? Well, maybe Tiger – they don't get on... Anyway, the Spaniard is probably the best player in the modern era without one, and El Niño put himself into a great position to win his first with a fine round of 69. Of course, the putter will come under a lot of pressure around this layout and Sergio will have to avoid any putting jitters if he is to have a chance.
One thing many detractors neglect to mention is that Sergio's putting stats recently have been excellent. We just seem to have witnessed too many painful 'big' moments to take his chances seriously. A lot of pundits are snorting and deriding at his chances of getting over the line. GolfPunk is one pundit-type place that believes he can. Go Sergio.
3 – Pieters and Fowler tie lead late on
The two stand-out rounds of the afternoon session came from Thomas Pieters and the in-form Rickie Fowler. An early bogey for Pieters didn’t deter the Belgian as he produced a fearless display of golf as he eagled the 13th and birdied the following hole to fire a round of 68 (-4) on his debut at The Masters. Fowler bettered Pieters by one shot, with an early eagle setting the tone for a stunning round of 67. Note to Thomas.... GolfPunk's Editor has a hefty bet on you to win... no pressure...
4 – Gutsy Spieth digs deep
A poor opening round from the 2015 champion included a quadruple bogey, but a 2nd round 69 (-3) fired Spieth back into contention, heading into the weekend just four shots back. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but replace that quad bogey with a regulation par and Jordan would be the firm favourite.
Remember, the Texan hasn’t finished worse than 2nd in his three appearances around Augusta; another top two finish doesn’t look that far-fetched. Moving day is upon us and, well, we wouldn't be surprised if he has the removals van and several burly henchmen on standby....
5 – Freddie rolls back the years
Having missed this event last year due to injury, Fred Couples was sure to be eager to come out on the hallowed grounds and give it another shot at Masters glory at the age of 57. The approach shot at the 18th was played perfectly to the top of the slope, letting the ball trickle down and eventually missing the hole by a matter of inches.
He’d settle for a tap-in birdie and a round of 70 (-2), leaving Boom Boom just four shots adrift heading into the weekend – a truly remarkable achievement. Major learning: Class is permanent. Age is just a number. ... And a precise reflection of how old you are... (Where is this going??!! – Ed)
Oh yes, and we should also add that defending Danny Willett was amongst those who missed the cut...