What happened at Round 2 of The Masters: 10 notes to know

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What happened at Round 2 of The Masters: 10 notes to know

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Though the name won’t be found on any leaderboard, Mother Nature unleashed her version of a flag-peppering 64 on Friday at Augusta National Golf Club.

Intense winds whisked bunker contents airborne throughout the day, moved the occasional golf ball off its mark and caused countless player step-offs and shot reassessments. When the dust settled, literally in this case, three American stars sat tied for first with 36 holes to play.

Here are the top numbers and notes to know from day two of the 88th Masters.

1. An elite field averaged 75.08, the highest second round at the Masters since 2007. The increase of 1.65 strokes over the opening round was the biggest jump from Round 1 to 2 at the Masters since 1976, when it played 1.85 shots more difficult. On approach shots, the field hit 7 percent fewer greens in regulation than on Thursday, with average proximity to the hole jumping up more than 4 feet.

The carnage wasn’t limited to Round 2, of course. Players who had to finish their opening rounds had enough holes to complete to feel Augusta National’s Friday wrath. Reigning Open champ Brian Harman shot a second-nine 47, the highest such score by a player under age 50 since 2009. Four years ago, Dustin Johnson became the first man in Masters history to reach 20 under par. Friday, he made back-to-back double bogeys for the first time in his Masters career. Jordan Spieth made his second career nine on the 15th hole, the only player to do that multiple times in the past two decades.

2. It wasn’t always pretty, but Scottie Scheffler managed a second-round score of 72 to tie for the lead entering the weekend. Scheffler hit just 10 greens in regulation, his fewest in 18 career rounds at the Masters. His short game was again outstanding, however: Scottie is ranked second in the field in strokes gained around the green, picking up well over a shot and a half in that metric in Round 2.

The inevitability of Scheffler near the top of the leaderboard is pro golf’s shadow at this point. Friday marked the 30th major championship round since 2021 in which Scheffler was in the top 10 following play — seven more than anyone else in that span. He has not been worse than tied for 11th through two rounds of a golf tournament since January. Friday was the 25th time since 2020 that Scheffler has beaten a field average in a major round by three strokes or more, the most of any player in that stretch.

Should the 27-year-old go on to win this week, he would be the fourth-youngest player in history to win a second green jacket, behind only Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Seve Ballesteros.

3. This is the fourth time that the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking has led after 36 holes at the Masters. The other instances were Greg Norman in 1996 (finished second), Johnson in 2020 (won) and Scheffler two years ago (won).

Scheffler did not make a bogey for the tournament until the fifth hole of his second round. The last time a reigning No. 1 player in the world went more than 22 holes to begin a major without a single dropped shot was Woods at the 2000 Open at St. Andrews (37 holes). Johnson also went the first 22 holes of the Masters in 2020 without a bogey — that week ended well for him.

4. One day after shooting a Masters career-low 65, Bryson DeChambeau scrapped his way to a second-round 73. In difficult conditions, DeChambeau hit four fewer greens in regulation and was nearly field-neutral in strokes gained putting a day after picking up more than three shots in that category. This is the first time Bryson has led after back-to-back rounds in a major championship.

As polarizing as he might be, a DeChambeau victory would be an undeniable achievement. Since 1960, only four American players have won both the U.S. Open — which Bryson already has in tow — and the Masters by age 30 or younger. The quartet is Nicklaus, Woods, Spieth and Arnold Palmer. If DeChambeau gets there, his driver will fittingly play an enormous role. He leads the tournament in strokes gained off the tee through two rounds.

5. A few hours before Scheffler and DeChambeau took the stage, Max Homa continued to author his best major performance to date. Homa hit a field-best 15 greens in Round 2 on his way to a second-round 71 and shares the 36-hole lead.

The first nine at Augusta National was a puzzle Homa couldn’t solve in his first four Masters starts. He made bogey or worse on more than 28 percent of the holes and was a combined 23 over in 12 rounds. This week, he’s 6 under on the first nine and bogey-free. Through two rounds, Homa is third in the field in strokes gained approach and sixth in strokes gained putting.

This is the first time three American players have shared the 36-hole Masters lead since 1985, when Craig Stadler, Tom Watson and Payne Stewart were tied. Bernhard Langer went on to win that week.



Max Homa is finally having his Masters breakthrough

6. Woods moved his name to the top of another section of the Masters Tournament record book Friday. Woods is now 24-for-24 in making the cut at the Masters — perfect as a professional — giving him the record for the most made in a row. He broke a tie with Gary Player, who did not miss a cut from 1959 to 1982, and Fred Couples, whose run went from 1983 to 2007.

It’s worth noting that all three players had years during their streaks when they did not compete. The mark for the most consecutive years making the cut belongs to Watson with 21 (1975-1995).

Those four legends comprise half of the eight-name list of players to make 24 or more Masters cuts all time, let alone in a row, as Woods has. Woods beat the field scoring average in each of the first two rounds, giving him 80 such performances in his storied Masters career. Among players with 30 or more rounds played, Woods’ career rate of beating the field — 81.7 percent — is the second highest, trailing only Lloyd Mangrum (81.7 percent) and right ahead of Ben Hogan (79.6 percent).

Phil Mickelson also made the cut, the 28th of his remarkable Masters career. Mickelson’s performance this week breaks a tie with Raymond Floyd and Langer for the fourth most in tournament history. This is the 23rd Masters in which Woods and Mickelson both made the cut.

Tiger Woods reacts to his putt on the 18th green after making his 24th consecutive cut at the Masters. (Michael Madrid / USA Today)

7. A pair of Masters debutants who represented Europe in last year’s Ryder Cup enter the weekend firmly part of the conversation. Friday morning, Nicolai Højgaard completed a round of 67, tying the lowest first-round score by a European player in his Masters debut (David Gilford, 1995). Højgaard — the only player with more strokes gained around the green this week than Scheffler — is alone in fourth place through two rounds.

Ludvig Aberg, meanwhile, was the only player to break 70 in the second round. Aberg is the first rookie to have the solo low round of the day in a Masters since Smylie Kaufman shot 69 in Round 3 in 2016. No player has won the Masters in his major championship debut, and no Masters first-timer has won the green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

8. The cut line of 6 over is the highest at the Masters since 2017. It’s just the fourth time since 2000 that plus-six and better qualified players for a Saturday tee time at Augusta National. Among those to miss the cut were the aforementioned Spieth, whose 79 in Round 1 was his worst career score at the Masters by three strokes.

He wasn’t alone as a multiple major champion heading home early. Justin Thomas was even par for the tournament while walking to the 15th tee but played his last four holes in 7 over to miss the cut by one. Johnson shot 78-79, the worst 36-hole total of his major career. Johnson is 27 over par at the Masters since his win in 2020.

9. In that context, the next fact becomes even more impressive: 61-year-old Vijay Singh and 58-year-old José María Olazábal made the cut and will play the weekend. Both players made their major championship debuts during the Ronald Reagan administration. They have combined for more than 15,000 strokes in official Masters competition.

It’s the third time since 2000 that two players age 58 or older have made the cut at the Masters. Couples and Langer did it in 2018, and Nicklaus and Tommy Aaron pulled it off in 2000.

10. Thirty-six of the last 37 Masters champions have been in the top 10 entering the third round. The last player to come from more than four back through two rounds to win the Masters was Charl Schwartzel (six back) in 2011.

The largest 36-hole comeback to win belongs to Jackie Burke Jr., who was eight behind Ken Venturi at the halfway point in 1956.

(Top photo of Bryson DeChambeau: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)