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2014 Masters, Day 2: Bubba’s World

2014 Masters, Day 2: Bubba’s World

2014 Masters, Day 2: Bubba’s World

2012 Masters champ Bubba Watson gathers gaggle of birdies Friday.

Before the 2014 Masters even started, there were plenty of signs to suggest this year’s tournament would be different than what many suspected could, or would happen: Tiger Woods misses his first Masters since turning pro in 1997 due to injury. A record number of first-timers find their way into this year’s Masters field. It also marks the first time a father-son duo in Craig and Kevin Stadler would play in the same Masters tournament.

But the big storyline was Bubba Watson‘s big day.

Watson, who won the 2012 Masters in a playoff with a shot for the ages, has played stellar golf for the first 36 holes of the 2014 tournament. The lefty has only two bogeys through the first  two rounds, both coming on Day 2. But then Watson offset those miss-hits with six birdies on Friday, including a run of five in a row from holes No. 12 through 16, highlighted by a near ace on the par-3 16th hole.

Wow, Watson. He hit the ball with power and creativity people will be talking about for years, no matter how the rest of weekend goes for the clever golfer with the hillbilly nickname and self-styled swing.

And then there’s Adam Scott, the defending champion, who was 3-under for the opening 18, struggled on the front nine Friday with a 3-over par effort. But Scott managed to come back into form playing the closing nine in 3-under for an even par round of 72, which puts him just four shots back of Watson and gives him momentum heading into Saturday’s “moving day.”

2014 Masters

First-ever Masters father-son duo, Craig and Kevin Stadler.

Maybe it was the Eisenhower tree fell this winter on the 17th hole, dramatically changing how most players would attack, or survive, the hole?

2014 Masters

Augusta’s “Ike” tree on the 17th hole succumbed this winter to an ice storm, changing how the fairway is played in 2014.

However, does it really surprise us that the likes of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Graham McDowell, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner find themselves suddenly with no weekend plans after missing the cut? Any one of the aforementioned golfers could have been earmarked as the favorite to bring home the coveted green jacket in the year’s first Major.

But if there’s anything about this Masters that we’ve learned, and perhaps a common theme throughout Masters’  history, is that the expected often doesn’t happen, which is why the Master is the most exciting Major of the year.

So it appears the 2014 Masters is awash of relevant stories. That big name, popular golfers that draw huge crowds and excitement won’t be part of the story, and some no-name player is going to win the tournament because so many of the elite have played themselves out of the tournament. Right?

Well, likely not with the likes of Watson and Scott in the hunt. Then, again, who knows? It’s the Masters. So, let’s take a quick look at the Masters’ leaderboard as we head into Saturday at Augusta. Even more specific, let’s take a look at the top 20 on the leaderboard from the bottom-up.

There’s certainly no shortage of big names with the likes of Lee Westwood, Brandt Snedeker, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar and Lucas Glover at even par, who collectively have 18 PGA Tour wins between them. 

The rest of the leaderboard consists of a mixed bag of cagey veterans Miguel Ángel Jiménez, (Spoiler: who came in with an early 66 Saturday) and Jim Furyk and Fred Couples and Tour journeymen Kevin Streelman, Thomas Bjorn and John Senden.

2014 Masters

Fred Couples, the ’92 Masters champ and oldest player in the 2014 field, is happily in contention.

Then, there’s the young up-and-comers, Jonas Blixt, Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker. Spieth is in contention to be the youngest Masters winner ever at age 20.

2014 Masters

Twenty-year-old Texan phenom Jordan Spieth.

Yet once again Day 2 proved that Augusta National is a great test of golfing skill.

It commands control, confidence, and execution, if not for a little bit of luck as well. Saturday will have players jockeying for position for the ultimate Sunday push towards the top of the leaderboard. With danger lurking around every corner, and stellar play rewarded with birdies or better, this Saturday promises to see plenty of movement up and down the leaderboard with every holed played.


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