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Back to the pack

Augusta National wasn’t a pushover on Friday, but it was far easier than it was on Thursday. Ten players shot 68 or better in the second round of the Masters, taking advantage of softer conditions that resulted from some cloud cover. Bernd Wiesberger and Tony Finau turned in 66s to tie for the low round of the day. Masters Leaderboard

One player who did not take advantage of this scorable version of Augusta National was Justin Rose. He’s still in the lead, though. That’s how good his opening 65 was.

As he did on Thursday, Rose got off to a slow start on Friday, turning in a 39 on his front nine. He bounced back with three birdies on the back nine to retain his lead going into the weekend. While there were some difficult pins out there, Rose will be kicking himself for not managing better than a 72. He is the only player in the top 20 not to break par in round two. As a result, 11 players are now within four shots of him, up from one player yesterday.

Still, Justin Rose will be in the final pairing on Saturday at the Masters. Can’t complain.

In pursuit vs. out of the race

Expectations for Will Zalatoris, who is playing in his first Masters, were somewhat tempered going into this week. Those expectations have changed. Zalatoris birdied his final three holes on Friday for a 68, good enough to earn himself a tee time with leader Justin Rose on Saturday. With a T-6 in the U.S. Open and top-25 finishes in the Genesis Invitational and Players Championship, Zalatoris has shown that he performs well on big stages. The last pairing in a weekend round at the Masters is about as big as it gets.

Just behind the leaders are Jordan Spieth (-5) and Justin Thomas (-4), your pre-tournament betting favorites. If not for a short miss by JT on the 18th green today, they would be tied. Both played phenomenal golf on Friday and currently sit among a crowd of players just off the lead. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them break away tomorrow and challenge the top of the leaderboard.

In that crowd we just mentioned, Brian Harman’s name sticks out. One of the shorter hitters on tour, the left-hander wouldn’t seem to be a fit for a big ballpark like Augusta National, aside from the fact that he’s left-handed. Yet here he is, -6 through 36 holes, just one stroke shy of Justin Rose.

Rory McIlroy will try to forget about the 2021 Masters as quickly as possible. The four-time major winner missed the cut at Augusta National for the first time as a professional, shooting 76-74. McIlroy’s quest for the career grand slam will have to wait. More importantly, though, the guy just needs to find his game again. His last three performances are two MCs and a poor showing at the WGC Match Play.

Joining Rory on the sidelines this weekend will be Brooks Koepka and defending champion Dustin Johnson. For Koepka, it’s his first missed cut at a major since the 2013 Open Championship. Given his recent knee injuries and surgeries, we aren’t exactly surprised by this result. (Incidentally, Brooks was, uh, not enthused when asked if he was disappointed.) DJ’s performance was more unexpected, as he has racked up six straight top 10s at Augusta National.

Bryson DeChambeau seemed to be in a dark place after his first-round 76, but he must have figured something out on Friday. Although still astonished by any putt that didn’t do what he expected, the big man made more than he missed, stacking up seven birdies en route to a 67.

Quick Hooks

Standing by the 15th green, apparently boiling with rage, Si Woo Kim slammed his putter into the ground, altering its shape and putting it out of play. Here’s the kicker: he was four under! Just three back of the lead! He finished out the round using a 3-wood on the greens.

Things didn’t go much better for Si Woo after his round. In a sport that has seen some exceptionally awkward handshakes and high fives over the years, he and Charl Schwartzel may have set the new bar with their… whatever this was… on the 18th green. It almost needs an NSFW tag.

One of our favorite pin positions at Augusta National is back right on the par-3 6th hole. That vicious little shelf was ejecting dudes this morning, and it was glorious.

Most right-handed PGA Tour players have trouble shaping a modern driver right to left as sharply as the 13th tee shot demands. Not JT.

Matthew Wolff’s tough stretch continues. After shooting 76-79, Wolff signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified.

After a valiant battle with an injured groin, 63-year-old Waffle House convert Ian Woosnam missed the cut at Augusta National, finishing at +9. He did, however, seem to enjoy the bench by the 13th tee. Who doesn’t like a good bench?

The Latest from The Fried Egg

The Shotgun Start: Bryson’s “calibration devices” and a Masters player calls in to talk Woosie

It’s Friday night at the Masters! Andy and Brendan react to the 85th edition of the tournament at its midpoint, beginning with Justin Rose hanging on to his lead against a loaded gaggle of chargers. Ian Woosnam’s battle to make the cut becomes a prominent topic perhaps far too early in the show, but his bench-sitting practices needed to be discussed. They delight in Si Woo Kim’s putter outburst that had him near the lead in the Masters and putting with his 3-wood. Also covered are the moves by Spieth, JT, Zalatoris, and Bryson’s fight despite his grievance that he can’t use his “calibration devices” at Augusta National. They discuss two listener-proposed theories—is Zalatoris unburdened by having no points to protect and is there a PAC curse? An MC Hammer segment focuses on DJ and Rory, who might be lost. Flashback Friday goes back only a matter of hours, as the great Jim Herman, who made the cut at the Masters, calls in to talk to two idiots about the course conditions and playing with a game Woosie for the first 36 holes. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

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