Masters leaderboard is slammed through two rounds
Talk about a Grand Slam leaderboard.
The record five co-leaders after Friday’s second round of the 83rd Masters Tournament have all won at least one of the four major championships and one of them, Brooks Koepka, has three.
But only one of them – Adam Scott – has won the Masters.
Then there is one of the guys one shot off the lead - 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, who has four green jackets.
Photos: 2019 Masters Round 2
“It must have happened at some point, but this is really stacked,” Scott said when asked whether he’d ever seen such a star-studded leaderboard. “I think it’s going to be an incredible weekend no matter what happens now.”
Of the co-leaders, Koepka won the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Opens and 2018 PGA Championship; Francesco Molinari is the defending British Open champion; Jason Day won the 2015 PGA Championship; and Scott won the 2013 Masters.
They head into the weekend as the largest group of leaders at the halfway mark in the history of the tournament. The previous record was four, in 1973.
With the exception of Scott, who is ranked 29th in the world, the co-leaders are all in the top 20. Koepka is No. 4, Molinari No. 7, Day No. 14 and Ooosthuizen is 19th.
Before a 29-minute weather delay starting at 5:05 p.m., Molinari set the standard at 7-under-par 137 after his 67. Day followed with his own 67, then came first-round co-leader Koepka with 71, Scott with 68 and Oosthuizen with 66.
Woods, playing in the second-to-last group, took advantage of the soft conditions after the delay to fire 68. He did miss a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 12 after the return, but reeled off birdies on Nos. 14 and 15. He just missed a 9-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and a 14-footer on No. 18.
Woods has plenty of company one shot off the lead. He’s joined at 138 by Xander Schauffele (low round of the day with 65), Justin Harding (69) and Dustin Johnson (70).
“This is now three straight majors that I’ve been in the mix and so it’s good stuff,” said Woods, whose last major championship came in the 2008 U.S. Open.
Lost in the shuffle of the low scores was first-round co-leader Bryson DeChambeau, who followed his opening 66 with 75 and is four shots off the lead. Rory McIlroy, one of the pre-tournament favorites who opened with 73, came back with 71 and is seven shots behind.
Molinari once carried a bag in the Masters, and now he’s carrying part of the weight of a 36-hole lead. In the 2006 Masters, he caddied for Edoardo, his older brother who had won the 2005 U.S. Amateur and played the first two rounds with Woods, the defending champion.
Now, Molinari is 36 holes away from winning his second major championship in eight months.
“It’s a long, long way to go,” he said. “We’ll see what we have to do the weekend.”
In 2006, he was “miles away” from the golfer he is today, Molinari said.
“I was only starting. It was the beginning of my second season as a pro,” he said. “It was a good motivation to see how good the guys were and how much I needed to improve to here. The goal was to be here once. ... I have lots of memories. Mostly the fact that I didn’t really enjoy caddying. I love being here and I love caddying for my brother, but it was just so hard to give him clubs, and it seemed a bit of a nightmare, standing with the bag, waiting for him to hit the shots. It’s not great fun to caddie around here.”
This is the 18th Masters for Scott, but the first time he’s ever been the leader after any round – except after the playoff he won in 2013.
Koepka, the only player in the field without a bogey in the first round, didn’t keep that streak going for long Friday. He made double bogey on No. 2 after hitting his drive in the left woods. He played the rest of the way in 2-under-par fashion. With two U.S Opens wins on his résumé, Koepka knows how to grind out a victory.
“So there’s no point in getting too excited on a Friday and wasting your energy or whatever it might be,” Koepka said. “You’ve still got a lot of golf to play. So you’ve just got to hang in there.”
When Day finished his round, he was tied for lead but predicted he’d be trailing after 36 holes. He was wrong after Scott, who had moved to 8-under for the tournament after an eagle on No. 15, bogeyed No. 16 and then parred in.
The bogey-par-par finish by Scott moved the cut line from 2-over 144 to 145, bringing nine more players into the weekend. A record 65 players will play the final 36 holes. The previous high, since the cut was instituted in 1957, was 62 in 1966.
Since an odd number of players made the cut, the call to the Augusta National bullpen is expected to go out to a marker to fill out the first group pairing with Eddie Pepperell, who goes off at 9:05 a.m.