Cameron Smith drilled a birdie putt on his final hole to take the co-lead among players in the early wave of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday.
Smith, of New Zealand, closed out his second round with an eagle and three birdies to shoot a 68. He stood at 9-under 135, tied for the lead with Abraham Ancer of Mexico, who shot a 67. Ancer opened his round with a bogey, then scattered six birdies.
“It’s been fun. I don’t know what has clicked. Honestly, I’ve felt like I’ve hit so many errant shots as well, but so many good ones,” Ancer said.
Just behind Smith and Ancer were World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who was on the course early Friday to finish Thursday’s incomplete round with a 7-under par 65. He strung together three birdies early in the second round that pushed him to 10 under before back-to-back bogeys brought him back to 8 under for the tournament.
Johnson began the second round on the 10th hole. He had birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 13 before bogeys at Nos. 14 and 15. He followed that with 10 consecutive pars with two holes to go.
Also at 8-under par and still on the course was Justin Thomas.
Ancer said he was aware of the big names lurking on the scoreboard.
“They’re so big out there that you can’t really miss them,” he said. “I don’t mind looking. I know what I need to do. I know how to play these holes. If I do that, everything else will take care of itself.”
A pair of Englishmen — Tommy Fleetwood and Danny Willett — each shot 66s to move into a tie for fifth place.
Phil Mickelson shot a second-round 70 to stay in the hunt, four strokes off the lead at 5 under. If he were to win the tournament for a fourth time, he’d be the oldest-ever major winner at age 50.
Paul Casey of England and Dylan Frittelli of South Africa, who entered the day at 7-under par, were among the golfers still waiting to tee off by early afternoon.
Defending champion Tiger Woods, who shot 68 on Thursday, also was among those with a late tee time. That means that Woods and others will be forced to complete their second rounds Saturday morning prior to the third round.
Because of the change to the November dates, tee times were set for the first and 10th tees. It’s the first time the tournament has been contested in November, shifting from April when the event was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. There’s a shorter period of daylight, so Thursday’s weather-related delay interrupted the schedule.
–Field Level Media