Slammed door? McIlroy fizzles after fast start

Couples, 57, would be the oldest Masters champion by 11 years but his performance on Friday was no fluke.

The 36-year-old Queenslander fired a superb 69 to claw his way back to even par to share 10th place with former Masters champions Jordan Spieth (69) and Phil Mickelson (73).

"I think that the main thing that has improved is the way I'm looking at [Augusta National] the last probably two or three years, and obviously this year", Garcia said.

"We have actually been quite lucky with the weather, with all the storms of Monday and Wednesday to have the course playing somewhat firm and fast is going to be a lot of fun".

Mickelson birdied the hard first hole with a 13-foot putt and on the par-five second hole, he put his second shot 14 feet away, missed, and then made a three-footer for birdie. After rallying from a four-hole deficit with five holes remaining to win the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, he kept up his strong play at Augusta National with a 3-over 147 that easily sent him through to the final two rounds. And he threw away a five-shot lead on the back nine previous year for another runner-up finish. Spieth ended the first round ten shots off the lead. "Today I just started comfortable on the greens".

Saturday had something for everyone at the Masters, including the promise of more to come.

His overall score of three over left him on the fringes of challenging for the Green Jacket but given that he arrived at Augusta underprepared, having taken a break from the game for personal reasons, he deserves huge credit. Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts to a shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 7, 2017, in Augusta, Ga.

If Saturday is moving day at the Masters, Jordan Spieth is moving in the right direction.

"I felt great coming off of (Friday's) round and I continued that momentum (Saturday)", Spieth told CBS. Spieth, though, started clawing back with a birdie on No. 16 to reframe his focus and, although he was 10 shots down, he had confidence he could contend.

Day's chances of winning the tournament are remote, but he took heart from breaking 70 on Saturday.

There are only ten players under-par overall, with former Masters winners Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel on -3 and -2 respectively.

"I feel like I play as aggressive as anyone around here", he said. Lee Westwood, a runner-up past year, also had a 68 and was five shots back.

McIlroy stumbled further with a double-bogey at the seventh, before repairing the damage with birdies at the eighth and 12th holes.

"I really know the course very well", Couples said.

As the talented Augusta member who is frequently relied upon to tee it up over the weekend when an odd number make the cut, Knox has gained a degree of notoriety - particularly after he apparently shot a better score than Rory McIlroy when the duo were paired together in 2014. I think that at the end of the day, that's really the only thing you can do.

  • Julie Sanders