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The Masters 2015
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Jordan Spieth just misses a birdie putt on the 18th green during his second-round 66 at the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Photo: AFP

Standing ovations for record-setting Jordan Spieth at Masters - and it's only day two

Young Texan threatens to turn year’s first major into a one-horse race as he takes a five-shot lead and a record for lowest 36-hole total at Augusta National

NYT

Jordan Spieth made Friday feel like Sunday at the Masters.

Fans rose to their feet and applauded when Spieth walked onto the 12th tee, and for the next two hours, ovations greeted him on tee boxes and greens. The red number next to his name on the leaderboard – 14-under par – was better than 11 of the last 13 winners.

It was easy to forget the Masters was only half over.

I mean, that’s something you can only dream about. It’s Friday, too. I’d like to have the same thing happening on Sunday. Got a lot of work to do before that happens
Jordan Spieth

When the 21-year-old Texan tapped in for par and a six-under 66, he broke the 36-hole record at the Masters that had stood for 39 years. Spieth was at 14-under 130, a two-day total matched by only three other players in major championship history.

And his five-shot lead over Charley Hoffman looked even larger considering that Spieth was a runner-up in his Masters debut last year, and he came to Augusta this year as the hottest player in golf.

“I got standing ovations walking to multiple greens,” Spieth said. “I mean, that’s something you can only dream about. It’s Friday, too. I’d like to have the same thing happening on Sunday. Got a lot of work to do before that happens.”

Hoffman tried to keep pace with Spieth and ran off three birdies on the back nine until closing with a bogey for a 68. He was five shots behind at 135, a score that would have been leading at 36 holes in the last three Masters. Hoffman didn’t care about that.

“It’s this year. It’s not any other year,” he said. “I’m just playing golf and I’ve only played 36 holes. And we’ve got a lot of golf left.”

Jordan Spieth acknowledges the fans after finishing his round. Photo: AFP
Dustin Johnson opened with a double bogey, and then became the first player in Masters history to make three eagles in one round. A bogey from the trees on the last hole gave him a 67, and he was seven shots behind, along with Justin Rose (70) and Paul Casey (68). Phil Mickelson (68) was eight behind.

One score that didn’t matter belonged to Ben Crenshaw, a two-time Masters champion playing in his 44th and final competitive round on the course. He missed the cut and in a poignant moment, longtime Augusta caddie Carl Jackson came onto the 18th green for a long, warm embrace.

“I feel like I’ve won the tournament,” Crenshaw said.

Rory McIlroy certainly didn’t feel that way.

The career grand slam might have to wait for McIlroy, though he stayed alive for a green jacket this week – mathematically, anyway – by making the cut. He went out in 40 and fell below the cut line, only to answer with a 31 on the back nine for another 71.

Even so, he was 12 shots behind at 2-under 142.

“I’m proud of myself the way I fought back,” McIlroy said. “I’m going to need four more nines like that to have a chance, it looks like. Jordan has played a phenomenal two rounds and doesn’t look like he’s going to let up.”

Tiger Woods was on the same score as McIlroy and had a different outlook.

The four-time Masters champion made only one bogey in his round of 69 – ending a streak of nine straight rounds at Augusta without breaking 70 – and said a few putts falling is all that has kept him from being closer.

“And I’m still right there,” Woods said. “I’m 12 back, but there’s not a lot of guys ahead of me. And with 36 holes here to go, anything can happen – ‘96 proved that. So we have a long way to go.”

He was referring to Greg Norman losing a six-shot lead on the final day in 1996.

Jordan Spieth hits from behind a tree on the 13th hole. Photo: Reuters
Spieth might find confidence in another reference.

The three other players who had a five-shot lead after 36 holes at Augusta – Herman Keiser in 1946, Jack Nicklaus in 1975 and Raymond Floyd in 1976. All went on to win. Floyd previously had the 36-hole record of 131 at the Masters in that 1976 wire-to-wire victory.

Perhaps even more valuable was Spieth’s experience last year. He was tied for the lead with Bubba Watson and two shots ahead with 11 holes to play when he fell behind and never caught up to Watson. What he learned that day was to be patient.

“The hardest thing to do is put aside wanting to win so bad, and just kind of going through the motion and letting my ball striking and putting happen,” Spieth said.

“I got off to a great start and had a chance to win last year on Sunday. I’d like to have that same opportunity this year.

“Again, this is only the halfway point and I’m aware of that. I’m going to try and stay ... very patient these last two days and understand it’s going to feel like a whole ‘nother tournament.”

 Second round scores:

 130 - Jordan Spieth (US) 64-66

 135 - Charley Hoffman (US) 67-68

 137 - Dustin Johnson (US) 70-67, Paul Casey (England) 69-68, Justin Rose (England) 67-70

 138 - Phil Mickelson (US) 70-68

 139 - Ernie Els (SA) 67-72

 140 - Ryan Moore (US) 74-66, Bill Haas (US) 69-71, Kevin Na (US) 74-66, Kevin Streelman (US) 70-70

 141 - Mark O’Meara (US) 73-68, Charl Schwartzel (SA) 71-70, Louis Oosthuizen (SA) 72-69, Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) 71-70, Adam Scott (Australia) 72-69, Jason Day (Australia) 67-74, Angel Cabrera (Argentina) 72-69

 142 - Danny Willett (England) 71-71, Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) 71-71, Sergio Garcia (Spain) 68-74, Jonas Blixt (Sweden) 72-70, Patrick Reed (US) 70-72, Tiger Woods (US) 73-69, Russell Henley (US) 68-74, Bubba Watson (US) 71-71

 143 - Keegan Bradley (US) 71-72, Ryan Palmer (US) 69-74

 144 - Zach Johnson (US) 72-72, Webb Simpson (US) 69-75, Noh Seung-yul (South Korea) 70-74, Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 74-70

 145 - John Senden (Australia) 71-74, Bae Sang-moon (South Korea) 74-71, Erik Compton (US) 73-72, Hunter Mahan (US) 75-70, Brooks Koepka (US) 74-71, Jimmy Walker (US) 73-72, Morgan Hoffmann (US) 73-72, Jason Dufner (US) 74-71, Chris Kirk (US) 72-73, Rickie Fowler (US) 73-72, Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland) 71-74, Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland) 74-71, Ian Poulter (England) 73-72, Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand) 75-70, Bernd Wiesberger (Austria) 75-70, Vijay Singh (Fiji) 75-70, Jamie Donaldson (Wales) 74-71

 146 - Lee Westwood (England) 73-73, Matt Kuchar (US) 72-74, Steve Stricker (US) 73-73, Cameron Tringale (US) 71-75, Anirban Lahiri (India) 71-75, Henrik Stenson (Sweden) 73-73

 - Missed the cut -

 147 - Bernhard Langer (Germany) 73-74, Mikko Ilonen (Finland) 74-73, Jim Furyk (US) 74-73, Matt Every (US) 73-74, James Hahn (US) 73-74, Gary Woodland (US) 71-76, Luke Donald (England) 75-72, Stephen Gallacher (Scotland) 71-76, Shane Lowry (Ireland) 75-72, Brandt Snedeker (US) 74-73, J.B. Holmes (US) 76-71

 148 - Brian Harman (US) 76-72, Ben Martin (US) 74-74, Billy Horschel (US) 70-78, Camilo Villegas (Colombia) 72-76, Joost Luiten (Netherlands) 76-72, Branden Grace (SA) 75-73

 149 - Victor Dubuisson (France) 74-75, Corey Conners (Canada) 80-69, Padraig Harrington (Ireland) 72-77, Ian Woosnam (Wales) 75-74

 150 - Sandy Lyle (Scotland) 74-76, Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain) 79-71, Byron Meth (US) 74-76

 151 - Brendon Todd (US) 80-71, Kevin Stadler (US) 77-74, Larry Mize (US) 78-73, Miguel Angel Jiminez (Spain) 78-73, Thomas Bjorn (Denmark) 72-79, Antonio Murdaca (Australia) 78-73, Martin Kaymer (Germany) 76-75

 152 - Matmas Dommnguez (Chile) 76-76, Tom Watson (US) 71-81

 153 - Fred Couples (US) 79-74, Trevor Immelman (SA) 76-77

 156 - Robert Streb (US) 80-76

 157 - Scott Harvey (US) 76-81, Ben Crane (US) 79-78, Bradley Neil (Scotland) 78-79

 159 - Yang Gunn (South Korea) 85-74

 163 - Mike Weir (Canada) 82-81

 176 - Ben Crenshaw (US) 91-85

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse

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