AUGUSTA — Scottie Scheffler had an opportunity to study from a few of the greatest to ever do it in his first two Masters Tournament appearances.
Last yr it was three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson for the primary two rounds. In 2020 it was five-time champ Tiger Woods for the ultimate spherical. This yr he is making an attempt to plot his method across the course like two-time winner Bernhard Langer.
Right now he is ready none of them have been in. Now he has two extra days to attempt to find yourself the place they’ve.
Scheffler, the world’s top-ranked participant with three wins in his final 5 begins, has a five-shot lead halfway by the Masters. That ties a match report for largest 36-hole lead, however he is aware of there’s nonetheless loads of work to do.
“I kept myself in position,” Scheffler mentioned. “I had a really good back nine and I’m looking forward to the challenge of tomorrow but, you know, I wouldn’t say much changes. I mean, I’m still playing the golf course. There’s still 50 guys in the field, something like that, I’m sure, and I can’t worry about what those guys are doing. I’m just going to go out and play my game and just keep doing what I’m doing.”
What he is doing this week at Augusta National Golf Club is an extension over what he is been doing during the last two months. It’s nonetheless too early to ask how a lot bigger his inexperienced jacket can be than the golden one he gained in 2014 on the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, however he is definitely put himself in a great spot on the halfway mark.
Four gamers, together with defending champion Hideki Matsuyama (69) and 2011 champ Charl Schwartzel (69) are at 3 beneath, and 2020 champion Dustin Johnson (73) is one among 4 at 2 beneath.
It will take a championship-level efficiency on the weekend for somebody to overhaul Scheffler, who completed within the high 20 in every of these two earlier appearances right here.
But this can be a totally different story. In neither of these years was he the world No. 1, nor was he within the hunt – a lot much less the commanding chief – by 36 holes.
He’s making an attempt to change into the fifth participant to carry a five-shot lead halfway by the Masters and finally win. Herman Keiser (1946), Jack Nicklaus (1975), Raymond Floyd (1976) and Jordan Spieth (2015) all gained the match.
Scheffler bogeyed two of his first three holes, which regarded tough on the scoreboard however did not rattle him due to how powerful the opening holes have been enjoying in a gusting wind. He caught a birdie in between these, then made six extra with no bogey the remainder of the way in which. He mentioned after the spherical that he thought even-par would have been a very good rating – like his lead, he was 5 photographs higher.
“So I’m still quite a long way to go. It’s nice to build up a little bit of a lead, but I’m not really going to be thinking about it tonight or anything,” he mentioned. “You know, I’ve put myself in position to play well and to win this golf tournament; and going into tomorrow, I’m just going to approach it like I did today and just be committed to my shots and hope for the best.”
One of the gamers making an attempt to trace him down can be Tiger Woods (74), who’s 1 over – and can play alongside Kevin Kisner (70) on Saturday – and made his twenty second consecutive Masters lower in his first actual competitors in 508 days. Woods bogeyed 4 of his first 5 holes however rebounded by enjoying his subsequent 9 holes in 2 beneath to remain safely above the lower line of 5 over. He parred his final 4 holes, although he felt he missed alternatives on 15 and 16.
“Other than that, it was a good fight. I got back in the ball game. I’m four shots back of second. That’s the thing,” Woods mentioned. “But Scottie is running away with it right now. Tomorrow is going to be tough. It’s going to be windy. It’s going to be cool. It’s going to be the Masters that I think the Masters Committee has been looking forward to for a number of years. We haven’t had it like this. It’s going to be exciting, and it’s going to be fun for all of us.”
Woods is aware of he has an opportunity at a sixth inexperienced jacket and sixteenth main championship – and a record-breaking 83rd match title – if he is inside 5 – 6 photographs heading into the again 9 Sunday, so the important thing Saturday is to not take himself out of place to be there.
There aren’t many in that place heading into Saturday.
Schwartzel, who birdied the ultimate 4 holes en path to victory in 2011, can be paired with Scheffler within the third spherical. First-round chief Sungjae Im (74), 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry (68) and Matsuyama are additionally inside 5.
Johnson, Harold Varner III (71), Cameron Smith (74) and Kevin Na (71) are six again.
Others might discover their method into the image on Moving Day, or Scheffler might drop again to the sphere. He appeared unbothered by the harder situations Friday, although, and had one among simply six rounds within the 60s.
His focus proper now could be placing himself in the appropriate place, and thru 36 holes nobody within the area has put himself in a greater spot.