Patrick Reed has the lead at 9-under par headed into the weekend at the Masters. He is going to have to fight off some of the best golfers in the world to stay there on Sunday night.
Right behind Reed after 36 holes at Augusta National is Aussie Marc Leishman at 7-under par and then a slew of past major champions including Henrik Stenson (-5), Rory McIlroy (-4), Jordan Spieth (-4), Dustin Johnson (-3) and Justin Thomas (-3) all in the hunt.
Of the 17 players under par at the halfway point 11 of them are ranked among the top-20 players in the world.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 7, 2018
The only players missing from the top of the leaderboard are Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Woods struggled and sits at 4-over par while Mickelson had an even tougher time and barely made the cut at 5-over par.
Reed, who outside of last year’s PGA Championship, has not contended at a major, got off to a hot start as the Augusta State grad opened with a 25-foot birdie putt to get his run going. He also is the only player in the field to birdie every single par 5 played.
“The par 5s are huge around here to be able to pick up ground on,” Reed said according to the Associated Press. “You’re not going to shoot a low score if you don’t.”
Last year’s champion Sergio Garcia, who had a 13 on No. 15 on Thursday, did not make the cut.
After Reed and Leishman, some of the game’s top players are in the hunt. McIlroy, who is searching for the final leg of the career Grand Slam, was 1-under par with late birdies on 13 and 14. Jordan Spieth, on the other hand, was the first-round leader, but dropped back in the back with a double bogey on the first hole and then a bogey on the second hole. Spieth showed some mettle with only one more bogey the rest of the round. He managed birdies at 13 and 15 to stay within distance with 36 holes left. Spieth finished with a 2-over, but it could have been so much worse.
“I’ve taken a lot of punches on this golf course, and in tournaments in general,” Spieth said, per the AP. “I told (caddy) Michael (Greller), ‘Look, when this course plays tough, I’m good for a double here or some bogeys there. Let’s make these the only ones.'”
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 6, 2018
Backing up Spieth and McIlroy are the world’s No. 1 and No. 2-ranked players in Johnson and Thoma at 3-under par. Johson birdied three of the last 11 holes and shot a 68. Thomas, who won the PGA Championship last year, is in contention after rebounding from an opening round 74 with a 67.
Other notables in the top-10 are Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Louis Oosthizen, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman all at 2-under par.
Saturday is called “Moving Day” at the Masters, and there is plenty of star power on the board to potentially make Sunday a one to remember.
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