Rory McIlroy 'relaxed' as he stays in hunt after Masters second round


The first hole at Augusta National, Tea Olive, has been, well, no cup of tea for Patrick Reed.

"I've never hit the green when I've hit driver off No. 1", Reed said.

Justine Reed caddied for her husband during PGA Qualifying School.

Woods has no shot of chasing down a star-packed leaderboard that includes eight major winners among the top 14 players, not to mention the guy considered the best without a major title (Fowler) and another potential star in the making (Reed).

The Holywood ace also picked up a birdie on the par five 13th hole and then the 15th to move to three under.

Reed fired an impressive six under par 66 in the second round, and he is nine-under as he starts his moving-day round Saturday at the Masters.

Mickelson, the victor of five major championships, including three Masters, last won this tournament in 2010.

On the eve of his first Masters, he made a hole-in-one on the seventh hole of the Par 3 Tournament, raced toward the green to celebrate and as he turned back toward the tee, his left ankle rolled. (Ask defending Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who backed up his opening round 81 with a 78 Friday, missing the cut explosively).

So it wasn't easy out there.

"It's hard because you keep fighting, you keep thinking, gosh, if I just get a birdie here or get one more back or fight in there, and then I just kept making bogeys", said Mickelson.

He had three birdies, none of them on par-5s, against four bogeys. He made the short eagle to briefly take the lead at 7 under, where he would finish. "Bad starts are tough to come back from", Spieth said. "I'm pretty fresh, actually". The 75 matched his second-worst score at the Masters and left him 13 shots off the lead.

But not everyone started so strong.

Meanwhile, all the leading stars were in trouble, as overnight leader Jordan Spieth had a double bogey-bogey start and those three dropped shots in the first two holes meant he was down to three-under. Spieth had a commanding lead at the turn in 2016 before stumbling on Nos.

Summing up the first day, he said, The putter did not work on the front nine and approach (shots did not work) on the back nine. On Friday, he nuked a 335-yard drive on the eighth hole, recoiling his body as if he were cracking a whip.

"With the way I hooded the club over to hook it that much, it turned it into like a 3- or 4-iron", he explained. McIlroy has been unflappable during a tough opening 36 holes and he felt that this 18-hole stretch should have yielded more points to the legitimate ambition of a four-time major champion.

Spieth shares fourth place with Rory McIlroy, who shot 71 to keep hopes of the first career Grand Slam completed at Augusta National alive.

Henrik Stenson (70) was four shots behind.

Several big names, including Leishman, also joined the fray on Friday. In 2014, eventual victor Bubba Watson led after two rounds.

"To be honest, I am not too happy with the round".

Hadwin is now tied with Matt Kuchar, Bernd Wiesberger, Henrik Stenson, Charley Hoffman and Patrick Reed for first place.

"We build plans for the year to peak at certain times", Spieth said after finishing the first round at 6 under par. Those experiences, along with Reed's well-known heroics in USA team competition, give him confidence that he can handle anything.

But the 42-year-old, who didn't know six months ago if he'd be able to resume his golf career, was delighted to give himself two more rounds at Augusta.

Augusta annually tames even the best golfers in the world, but it's not often that you see such an accomplished player look so ordinary. "They do a great job of trying to distract you from what you're trying to do - whether it's the scenic views, the danger that's around the target that you're looking for or just the crowds and just everything". He struggled just to find the ball. "Fairways were softer, so the ball wasn't running". I still think he's far and away the most likely victor and I'm not tempted by any of the other short-priced contenders.

Saturday's forecast called for a 100 percent chance of rain.

"I heard about it from my kids", Langer said. "I'd say I like it when it's challenging".