Pieters' patience, talent gets him share of Masters lead

The wind contributed to the bunching of the leaders Friday, although that's an inadequate explanation for the rise of Fowler with a 5-under-par 67 that featured an eagle on No. 2 during his front-nine 32.

The 40-year-old Californian vowed to stay on the attack through the weekend even if the course conditions become more difficult, as expected, with harder greens.

Two days of survival gives way to a shootout among some of golf's biggest stars.

"It was a really good day today at Augusta National", said Spieth, who shot 3-under 69 to break a string of four over-par rounds at Augusta.

Spieth, the 23-year-old Texan who shot 75 to open the Masters, including an ugly nine on the 15th hole, followed his 69 on Friday with a smooth 68 on Saturday to play himself to nearly the very top of the leaderboard.

According to Golf Channel, Day came into Augusta National aware that he wouldn't be at 100%. Garcia has us all wondering, is this finally his year?

Lurking menacingly alongside compatriots Hoffman and Ryan Moore on 4-under is Jordan Spieth, who enjoyed an extremely productive "Movers Day".

This time, the Masters appears to be up for grabs.

The wind began to subside as the pines cast long shadows across the course late in the afternoon, and the forecast is close to perfection for the Saturday and Sunday rounds, with mild temperatures and hardly any wind.

Only 10 players remained under par, all of them separated by five shots.

The last time there was a four-way tie for the lead at the halfway point of the Masters was in 1973, when Bob Dickson, Gay Brewer, J.C. Snead and Tommy Aaron were tied at 3-under 141. The 28-year-old is has been playing the best golf of those among the leaders, finishing no worse than 16th in his last five tournaments, with three top-four finishes and a win at The Honda Classic.

"I didn't make any real mental errors but I didn't execute", Hoffman said. "So the more that I can slow down thoughts, my walking, and make sure that I kind of think through everything and not get too quick out there, that's one of my keys". "When you get in position you have to be aggressive".

Garcia had hit a provisional ball after he hooked his tee shot into the left tree. Made a bunch of bogeys, but that happens out here.

He had birdies on seven of his final 11 holes to surge past McGirt, whose gutsy 69 looked like it might rule the round. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, hits to the 18th green during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 7, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. However, no champion had ever made the cut - until yesterday.

Four bogeys on the back nine hurt him though as he finished the second round tied for 10th at even par. Among the other contenders: former U.S. Open victor Justin Rose (143) and past Masters champions Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson (both at 144).

"We're in a position now where we can go out there and win this thing and certainly make a run", Spieth said.

Fifteen players were separated by a mere five shots going into the weekend.

Behind them, the leaderboard is absolutely loaded with former champions. The 46-year-old Mickelson was one shot behind until he sputtered down the stretch with three bogeys and two par saves over his last five holes for a 73.

  • Julie Sanders