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The 87th Masters provided everything on day two — two weather delays with falling trees, a comeback story and a rules controversy.
Play was suspended in the afternoon for a brief 20 minutes. After it resumed for an hour, strong winds, rain and a thunderstorm swooped across Augusta National. The clouds darkened the vibrant colors of the azaleas while patrons left the premises as play was suspended for the evening.
Round two will continue Saturday at 8:00 a.m. ET and third-round tee times will be released shortly after the conclusion.
A frightening moment occurred near the 17th green as a tree collapsed. Multiple trees fell at the course after the strong winds picked up. Fortunately, Augusta National released a statement stating no one was injured.
Scary moment as a tree falls at The Masterspic.twitter.com/UNzZYNGpuy
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) April 7, 2023
Brooks Koepka fired a 5-under round of 67 to take the clubhouse lead. The four-time major winner has held the lead at the tournament before but has yet to claim the Green Jacket.
Jon Rahm (9-under) has the back nine remaining in his round and sits three strokes behind Koepka. Amateur Sam Bennett (three strokes behind) also continued his historical play in his debut.
Three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson (-4) is also in contention after shooting a 3-under round to put him in the top 10. Mickelson’s longtime competitor, Tiger Woods is currently battling the projected cut line of two-over par.
Masters golf leaderboard
|1||Brooks Koepka||-12 (F)|
|2||Jon Rahm||-9 (9)|
|3||Sam Bennett (a)||-8 (F)|
|T4||Viktor Hovland||-6 (10)|
|T4||Collin Morikawa||-6 (F)|
Key Moments of the Day
Rejuvenated Koepka takes the solo lead
After an impressive 65 to put him as co-leader after round one, Koepka continued his solid play Friday, ending his round bogey-free, which included three birdies and an eagle.
The West Palm Beach, Florida native didn’t have to battle the elements due to a calm forecast during his morning round.
Koepka has battled a knee injury the past couple of years but is finally healthy and contending at a major again. In 2019, Koepka finished T2 at the event.
Through two rounds, Koepka has hit the fairway on 89.3% of his drives (seventh in the field), reached 81% of greens in regulation (ninth in the field) and ranks 13th in putting.
The former U.S. Open and PGA Championship winner took advantage of the par 5s, finishing five under on them.
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 7, 2023
His 36-hole total of 12-under 132 matched the third-lowest score in tournament history after two rounds. Jordan Spieth owns the record: 130 (2015).
Rahm and others lurk
The World No. 3 played the front nine before play was permanently suspended for the day. Rahm is currently 2-under on his round (-9 total) and sits in second alone, three strokes behind Koepka.
The Spaniard dealt with driving issues but recorded consecutive birdies on holes eight and nine to finish the day.
Bennett (-8), Hovland (-6 through 10 holes) and Collin Morikawa (-6) round out the top five of the leaderboard.
Amateur Sam Bennett makes history
Bennett’s four-under round of 68 put him at 8-under for the tournament (third place). His score is the lowest for an amateur through 36 holes at the tournament since Ken Venturi did it in 1956.
The Texas A&M golfer said his many friends wished him luck to finish as the low amateur, although his desire is to win the entire tournament.
Rory McIlroy implodes and Scheffler struggles
The two tournament favorites (7/1 pretournament odds) endured poor second rounds.
McIlroy shot a 5-over 77 and will miss the cut after finishing second in last year’s edition. This will be just his third missed cut in 15 appearances since 2009 but his second missed cut in the last three years.
Scheffler slid down the leaderboard into a T29 after his 3-over par 75. It’ll take a herculean effort this weekend if he wishes to become the fourth player to win back-to-back Masters. The World No. 1 ranks last in the field with his putter.
Woods battles the cut
The cutline currently sits at 2-over, and Woods is even on his round with eight holes left to play.
Woods played the front nine with an even score of 36. After bogeying No. 7, Woods bounced back with a birdie on No. 8.
Since his triumph in 1997, the 82-time PGA Tour winner has made the cut in 22 consecutive Masters appearances. Fred Couples and Gary Player hold the record for the most straight cuts made at Augusta National, with 23.
This could be Woods’ last competitive start at Augusta due to his health.
On the 15th hole, the broadcast captured Ricky Elliott (Koepka’s caddie) allegedly enunciating “five” towards Gary Woodland’s caddie Brennan Little.
This occurred after Koepka hit a five iron into the green. Sharing information on the course is considered against the rules and leads to a two-stroke penalty.
Koepka is also being accused of making a “five” gesture with his hand after he removed his glove.
— Lawrence Smelser (@LawrenceSmelser) April 7, 2023
The incident was investigated by the Masters Tournament Committee after his round. The committee released the following statement:
“Following the completion of Brooks Koepka’s round, the Committee questioned his caddie and others in the group about a possible incident on No. 15. All involved were adamant that no advice was given or requested. Consequently, the committee determined that there was no breach of the rules.”
Koepka denied any wrongdoing after his round and told reporters:
“Today was just about my…I guess my hand and my glove. I don’t know if you’re supposed to take your glove off with your fist closed or what now.”
The current LIV Golf member stated that Woodland would’ve known what club he was using by looking toward him after his shot.
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