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  • Writer's pictureThe Season Ticket

Masters 2018 | Round 2: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


Reed lays a marker down

Not the most popular golfer on Tour, Patrick Reed gets a kick out of being the ‘heel’ of golf, inspired by his claim that he was ‘Top 5’ on Tour in 2014 (four years later he has still not reached that ranking). He has held this persona also in Ryder Cups.

Reed, like Ian Poulter for Europe, has struggled to bring his brilliant Ryder Cup form to the major championship stage. Before the 2017 PGA Championship, he had never finished in the top 10 of a major. He would finish tied second that week with a genuine chance to win, and barring disaster, he will be in the mix on Sunday, where he is sure to don his Tiger Sunday red.

A 66 on Friday contained an amazing nine birdies, and Reed will continue to attack over the weekend. The man to catch.

Favourites get back in contention

Some of the best golfers in the world have congregated in a large group from 1 under to 5 under, should Reed falter. In third place is 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson at 5 under, while Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are finely placed at 4 under.

Friday was a day of comeback for a number of players that looked to be out of it. Dustin Johnson shot a 4 under 68, while Justin Thomas had a 5 under 67 to get back into the tournament at 3 under. Justin Rose (70, 2 under), Bubba Watson (69, 2 under), and Jon Rahm (68, 1 under), all showed why they are so highly ranked.

With so many quality golfers in the chasing pack, the chances are that one or two are going to post a five or six under tomorrow on Moving Day and put serious pressure on the leaders.


Not to be forgotten is Marc Leishman, who is just two shots behind Patrick Reed in second place. The tall Australian has achieved that playing with Tiger Woods, never an easy task, and he hit one of the greatest shots on the 15th hole on Friday.

He played an amazing 50-yard draw from over 200 yards, around trees and over water, to six feet from the hole one of the more treacherous greens on the course. It led to an eagle. It was a shot of which Tiger Woods would have been very proud.

Tiger himself hit his best shot of the tournament on the 11th hole, with a low stinger through the trees, followed up by Bubba Watson’s spectacular draw on the same hole 10 minutes later (see above). Augusta allows players to be creative, and that is why it is such a great course to watch every year.


Spieth gives up his advantage

After an opening round of 66, many thought that Jordan Spieth might run away with this Masters like he did in 2015. That notion quickly disappeared. Spieth had a nasty start to his round on Friday, beginning with a horrible slice at the first.

Reminiscent of the drive that cause him so much hassle at the 2017 Open, it led to a double bogey for Spieth, and when he followed it up with a bogey at the par 5 second, Spieth’s advantage was immediately given back.

The American had a fight on his hands from there, and in typical Spieth fashion, he fought back to keep himself well in the tournament. Four over for the day after 7 holes, he had no more bogeys from that point onwards, and picked off birdies at the 13th and 15th holes.

It could have been much worse for Spieth, but nevertheless, a 74 meant that he went from a lead of two shots to five shots behind the leader.

Masters Coverage

Every year, people complain to Sky Sports about not showing live golf until 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays of The Masters, but it is completely out of their control.

Every foreign broadcaster gets their coverage from CBS Sports, who have a special agreement with The Masters. In return for showing the tournament every year, The Masters committee have full control over what is shown during the week.

This means limited live golf every year on the first few days, with only the Featured Groups and players at Amen Corner and the 15th and 16th holes shown during the day. This is a perfectly serviceable, if inconvenient, way of showing the golf, should the Featured Groups be the groups of players with the biggest interest.

For some reason, the Masters decided to show Haotong Li +1, Fred Couples +2, and Joaquin Niemann +9 as a Featured Group, instead of the leader Jordan Spieth’s group or Rory McIlroy’s group. Should the duo have had a magic front 9, it would never have been broadcast, which is strange in 2018.

Tiger and Phil fall back

With seven Masters titles between them, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson know how to play Augusta National like the back of their hands.

With good form heading into the tournament, Tiger with a second place at the Valspar Championship, and Mickelson with a win at the WGC-Mexico Championship, hopes were high heading into Augusta.

Yet they head into the weekend at the Masters 13 and 14 shots behind respectively, with no hope of winning the tournament.

Tiger has never looked particularly comfortable in this tournament, with only two birdies out of 8 par 5 chances a particular disappointment. Leaving the hype aside, the four-time winner has work to do if he is to contend majors in the future. However, the fact that Woods even made the cut in the tournament, considering where he was six months ago, is an achievement in itself.

There are no such excuses for Phil Mickelson, who had a very surprising collapse from the 9th tee onwards, where he drove it in the middle of the trees, forcing a penalty shot and leading to a triple-bogey. Mickelson was seven over for his last 10 holes on Friday. He barely made the cut in the end, after being in a good position after Round 1.


Slow Play

A common complaint on the PGA Tour this season has been the pace of play, and The Masters was no different on Friday. Patrick Reed’s was last out on the course, but it got to a farcical situation where a group teeing off at 2pm in Augusta National was playing the last hole struggling for light in April, with sunset coming in at 7.53.

Ian Poulter’s group was put on the clock, and the Englishman was not best pleased when asked by reporters. “I think as a group we were slow,” he said. “But I’m not going to say the reasons why we were slow. I’m going to say ‘we’. Let me just generalise and say ‘we’.”

Poulter may have aimed his comments at playing partner Patrick Cantlay, who has been heavily criticised for slow play in the past, taking minutes shuffling at the ball before pulling the trigger every shot at the Genesis Open.

The greens at Augusta National are so tough that it takes longer than the average round, but rounds nearing six hours are not good for anyone involved and ruins the spectacle.

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