Tiger Roars Into Contention with Major Champions at Augusta
TIGER WOODS survived a rain delay and a sliding tackle from a marshal to leave himself one shot off the lead after the second round of The Masters as he attempts to complete one of the most remarkable comebacks in sport.
Woods had recorded his first birdie of the day on the 11th hole and struck a superb tee shot to five feet on the 12th when the siren sounded to suspend play due to the threat of lightning at Augusta National.
After a delay of 30 minutes play resumed and Woods missed the birdie attempt, but he picked up a shot on the 14th in remarkable circumstances a few minutes later.
For the second day running Woods hit a superb recovery shot from the trees on the par four, only for a security guard to run in to try to control the crowd, slip on the wet ground and slide knee-first into Woods’ right ankle.
Woods limped away grimacing in pain but quickly recovered and after holing from 15 feet, the 43-year-old also converted from 30ft on the par-five 15th.
Further good chances went begging on the 17th and 18th but a 68 left Woods just one shot off the lead shared by Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen, all current or former major champions.
Former world number one Dustin Johnson, South African debutant Jason Harding and Xander Schauffele were alongside Woods on six under, Schauffele carding the lowest score of the week with a superb 65.
Ryder Cup teammates Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm were two shots off the pace on five under, while Rory McIlroy kept his hopes of the career grand slam alive with a 71 to finish level par. He is just seven adrift with 36 holes to play.
Molinari, the Open champion, put himself in position to win a coveted green jacket thanks to a bogey-free 67.
Molinari made his debut as a player in 2010 and recorded his best finish to date with a tie for 19th in 2012, but came into the event on the back of a stellar 12 months.
The 36-year-old has won four times since last year’s Masters, including The Open Championship at Carnoustie, while he also became the first European player to earn a perfect 5-0 record in the Ryder Cup in Paris.
Beginning the day four shots off the lead, Molinari birdied the third, eighth and ninth to reach the turn in 33 and picked up further shots on the 12th and 15th before a superb two-putt from 75 feet for par on the last.
“It was good, pretty solid, not many mistakes and when I missed greens I missed them on the good side, leaving myself pretty easy up and downs so all in all a very good day,” Molinari said.
“Now I’m just going to rest. The game is in good shape so I don’t think I can gain much from hitting balls. Just get as much energy as possible for the weekend. There’s going to be a lot of players in the mix and a very long way to go.”
Poulter enjoyed a slice of luck when his approach to the 13th stuck in the bank of Rae’s Creek and allowed him to chip and putt for a birdie. He said afterwards: “I’m a little frustrated with a couple of missed opportunities towards the end there. But it’s on the board and I am in position and it’s going to be a good weekend. There’s a long way to go and if you put yourself in position with nine to go the course opens up. As long as I am there or thereabouts and try to be super aggressive who knows what can happen.”
World number one Justin Rose missed the cut for the first time in 14 appearances after a 73, but Jordan Spieth recovered from an opening 75 to make the weekend thanks to a 68.
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