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Scottie Scheffler Overcomes Testing Conditions to Lead Masters by Five

By: | Sat 09 Apr 2022 | Comments

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER overcame testing conditions at Augusta National to spreadeagle the field after two rounds of The Masters. He will go into the third round with a five-shot lead after a round of 67 left him on 136, eight under par.

All eyes were once again on Tiger Woods. But the 15-time major champion made a dreadful start to the day and we began to wonder if he would make the cut.

We should have known better. Four over for his first five holes, the 46-year-old birdied the eighth and 10th holes. He dropped shots at the 11th and 12th but bounced back with birdies at the 13th and 14th and parred in for a round of 74 on a day when most players were dropping shots like confetti.

“I made a terrible start,” said Woods. “My goal was to try to get back to level par for the day and I came close. I am still in the ball game. The course will be hard and dry at the weekend and I know how to play here. I am feeling my right leg but I am just delighted to be here."

World number one Scheffler, looking for his fourth victory of 2022, had opened with a 69 and dropped shots at the first and third. But the American birdied the second, seventh, eighth, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th to move to eight under par, at which point he led by five shots.  

Scheffler is renowned for the vast distances he hits the ball but there is far more to his game, and he possess a wonderful short game. As he walked off the 16th green he was five shots ahead of 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel, first-round leader Sungjae Im, who laboured to a 74, defending champion Hideki Matsuyama and 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry, whose 68 featured one dropped shot and five birdies.

“That was one of the best rounds I have ever played,” said Lowry. “I hit the ball really well and putted well. On this course you are always only one shot away from disaster, so I am really pleased. I gave myself a lot of chances and was disappointed to miss a shot birdie putt on the last.”

Cameron Smith, the Players champion, began the day on four under par but went backwards in a hurry. However, he battled back and finished the day on two under.

Scheffler produced a terrific up and down to save his par at the 17th but hit a wild drive into the trees on the right at the 18th. He found a gap and hit his approach to 12 feet but had to settle for a par.

The round of the day was played by Justin Thomas. Having opened with a 76, he was in danger of missing the cut but he played superbly for a round of 67, missing a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th. 

“It could have been at least a couple of shots better,” said Thomas. “As poorly as I played in the first round, I turned it around completely today and I feel so much better."

Rory McIlroy had a second successive 73 but insisted he had played better than that and believed he was still in contention.

Among those who missed the cut were Sam Burns, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Rose. And none of the amateurs in the field made it through to the weekend.

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