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Rory, Spieth: final pair Saturday at Masters

Second Round — PGA Tour — Masters Tournament — Augusta National Golf Club —

Rory McIlroy current official PGA TOUR headshot (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR) *** Local Caption *** Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy current official PGA TOUR headshot
(Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR) *** Local Caption *** Rory McIlroy

Augusta, Georgia —

After another hot start, defending champion Jordan Spieth reached 8-under overall and had a five-shot advantage. For a moment, he seemed destined for back-to-back Green Jackets.

But, he ended up shooting 2-over-74 and sits 4-under through 36 holes clinging to a single shot lead against Rory McIlroy. It was difficult day at Augusta and conditions became more difficult with higher wind gusts and drying out greens which produced some big scores.

Spieth and Rory, who shot one of just a handful of 71s Friday, tee off as the final pairing Saturday at Augusta. McIlroy, shooting for the career Grand Slam with a Masters victory, is the only player in the field to break par in the opening two rounds (70-71).

Danny Lee and Scott Piercy are T-3 at 2-under at the halfway point. Piercy is a multi-time PGA Tour champion winning twice last season in opposite field events (Barracuda and Barbasol). Both were long-shots to win this week. Lee was listed at 225-to-1 odds at Silverton Casino in Las Vegas, while Piercy was tabbed at 400-1.

MastersAt T-5 and 1-under is a host of players who could make a run Saturday on Moving Day at Augusta including Brandt Snedeker, Hideki Matsuyama and Soren Kjeldsen. Sneds won at Torrey Pines in January and Matsuyama captured the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February. Kjeldsen won the European Tour’s Irish Open at The K Club last year.

Expect a player sitting at even par and T-8 to make some noise Saturday. That group features dangerous contenders like Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Danny Willett and Shane Lowry.

Look for Spieth’s consistency and Rory’s hunger for his first win of 2016 to highlight round three. But, the pressure on both might enable some players to make a run up the leader board to close the gap heading into Sunday.

Other Masters News:

  • Bryson DeChambeau, the top amateur in the field at Augusta, made triple-bogey at the 18th hole to erase an impressive day’s work. He finished even par 72-72 through two rounds and sits T-8.
  • Tom Watson, 66, made his final Masters appearance shooting 74-78. Watson
    Tom Watson current official PGA TOUR headshot (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR) *** Local Caption *** Tom Watson

    Tom Watson current official PGA TOUR headshot
    (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR) *** Local Caption *** Tom Watson

    played in 43 Masters events with two victories. He also won six other majors in his career and 39 career PGA Tour triumphs in all.

  • Several high-profile players expected to contend this week missed the cut (Top 50 or anyone within 10 shots of the lead) including Phil Mickelson (72-79), Charl Schwartzel (76-76) and Rickie Fowler (80-73). Ten Masters champs missed the cut this week.
  • For the first time since 2007 third round, no player shot a round in the 60s at Augusta National.