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Sunday, February 25, 2024

5 weekend storylines to observe at The Masters

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The Masters almost made it via two full rounds earlier than climate in the end suspended play on Friday afternoon.

The leaderboard is loaded with star energy. An newbie is making the most important climb up the Augusta Nationwide leaderboard in many years, and Tiger Woods is combating for a record-tying made reduce with just a few holes left. So there’s loads to concentrate on although Saturday’s situations might get ugly.

Right here’s a have a look at some storylines to observe as play picks up on Saturday morning.

Dangerous climate makes Saturday’s play utterly unpredictable

Friday’s play at Augusta was suspended late afternoon as a consequence of excessive winds, driving rains, and thunderstorm situations. A trio of bushes even fell over close to the seventeenth tee field simply earlier than the day’s play was in the end known as off. Fortunately, in accordance with a launch from Augusta Nationwide, no one was harm.

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On the golf entrance, there are nonetheless 12 teams of gamers left on the course who’ve but to finish the second spherical. Loads of these rivals are both in competition for the lead, like Jon Rahm or Viktor Hovland, or combating to make the reduce, like Tiger Woods and Talor Gooch. Play resumes at 8 a.m. Saturday morning with loads on the road.

Sadly for the teams ending up second-round play, Saturday’s climate is anticipated to be chilly, wet, and depressing. Many of the day is forecasted to characteristic rain with a excessive of solely 52 levels. Probably the one perk is enjoying a wetter and softer course that would assistance on a few of Augusta’s fast-and-slippery greens. The climate will mentally problem among the gamers who dislike being in these kind of situations.

The Saturday climate isn’t restricted to the second spherical. These situations will carry over into the third spherical if play accelerates via the day with no suspensions. Augusta Nationwide is also compelled into extra scheduling changes if the rain turns into too heavy throughout Saturday’s play.

Both means, count on a considerably completely different day of golf on Saturday than we’ve seen to this point within the event.

Tiger Woods nonetheless has work to do to make his Masters record-tying reduce

Seven holes of par golf. That’s the end result it is going to probably take for Tiger Woods to make a record-tying twenty third consecutive reduce at The Masters on Saturday morning. Since turning skilled in the course of the fall of 1996, Woods has by no means missed a reduce at Augusta Nationwide.

At present sitting on the cutline at +2 via 11 holes, Woods must grind to make it to the end line. The cool, moist situations anticipated on Saturday may very well be impactful on Woods attempting to remain at his bodily greatest throughout a event by which he already appears drained strolling a long-and-hilly course.

To the good thing about Tiger, he has two par fives to play (13 and 15), which might place him with two birdie alternatives to assist his trigger down the stretch. However to start the morning, Woods has a tough first shot on the dreaded par-3 twelfth gap at Augusta – one of many extra daunting photographs in golf.

It’ll be an enchanting dash to the end to see if Woods can tie his good friend and mentor Fred {Couples} and Gary Participant atop the Augusta Nationwide document books. Woods making the reduce, and increasing play into the ultimate two rounds, would add to his unimaginable Augusta epilogue coming off of his 2021 automobile accident.

Brooks Koepka makes an attempt to shut after an unimaginable begin

Not many individuals predicted this type of begin from Brooks Koepka.

The four-time main champion made his mark throughout a damaging three-year run that noticed him win back-to-back U.S. Opens and back-to-back PGA Championships from 2017 via 2019. The most recent model of Koepka, at the least when it comes to common public notion, was that of a washed-up former champion who scurried away to a straightforward paycheck with LIV Golf.

Via two rounds this week, Koepka has proven flashes of his brilliance. After posting a gap 65 for a share of the lead, Koepka adopted that up with one other good -5 efficiency on Friday to place him at -12 total for the championship.

With a (present) three-stroke lead over Jon Rahm, and an much more sizable benefit over the overall area, Koepka’s opening flurry was harking back to his 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. An identical -12 begin noticed Koepka open up a seven-stroke lead on the sector earlier than capturing his fourth main.

Though Koepka goes to have stiffer (and nearer) competitors the ultimate two rounds, the unimaginable begin can’t be neglected for a former main champion recognized for delivering an early blow.

Can reigning U.S. Novice Champion Sam Bennett keep in competition?

The stellar play of Sam Bennett continued via Friday’s second spherical. The Texas A&M senior and reigning U.S. Novice Champion touched solo 2nd place on the leaderboard thanks to a different regular -4 to place him at -8 total.

Paired with world No. 1 and defending Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and one of many hottest gamers on the earth, Max Homa, Bennett soundly outplayed his skilled group mates via 36 holes at Augusta due to confidence and a notable show after all administration.

Astoundingly, Bennett solely has one bogey via two rounds. However can he proceed the historic begin?

Bennett pounded fairways (93 p.c via two rounds) and greens (73 p.c via two rounds) at an above-average price in comparison with the sector the primary two days. However below-average distance off the tee for the week is one thing that would harm Bennett if the course will get softer and permits for much less runouts due to the anticipated climate.

No person would blame Bennett for displaying his expertise at any level in the course of the weekend. However for an newbie to have an opportunity to play within the ultimate group in the course of the weekend at Augusta can be a extremely enjoyable change of tempo.

A loaded leaderboard stays to problem Brooks Koepka

It would really feel like Brooks Koepka has a agency grasp of the lead at this level. Given the climate and loaded leaderboard, it will be foolish to proclaim any type of champion with a lot golf left to play.

The Masters leaderboard continues to characteristic former main winners and top-20 gamers within the OWGR. There’s nonetheless an opportunity former world No. 1 Jon Rahm makes a climb to seize Koepka by the tip of spherical two. In the meantime, former main winners like Collin Morikawa (-6), Jason Day (-5) and Jordan Spieth (-5) are nonetheless properly inside placing distance with 36+ holes left.

If there’s even a slight mishap from Koepka throughout an unpredictable Saturday, there are many notable suitors ready to pounce. It ought to make for a riveting weekend of golf.

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