The 2019 Masters couldn’t be any more dramatic and there are still 36 holes to play.
There are five major champions tied for the lead but don’t look now — four-time champion Tiger Woods is just a shot back heading into a weekend where the weather may become the biggest story at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Here’s a look at how they’re lined up with two rounds in the books:
SEVEN-UNDER PAR (137):
Francesco Molinari (70-67): The reigning Open champion used his fairway and greens style to shoot 67 on Friday to get a piece of the lead. He says he’s very confident after the first two days and looks every bit the player who beat a great field last July at Carnoustie.
Jason Day (70-67): Absolutely amazing to see J-Day at the top after seeing him on his back after the first hole on Thursday. Evidently he got some great treatment after the first round and prior to his second. Looked really good and no reason he can’t challenge on the weekend.
Brooks Koepka (66-71): “I didn’t strike the ball nearly as well as I did on Thursday,” Koepka admitted. An errant drive at the second in the left woods into a concrete drainage ditch led to a double-bogey seven and that got his struggles underway. “I worked my way back into it,” the three-time major winner said and he did with birdies at 15 and 18 that got him under par and secured a piece of the halfway lead.
Adam Scott (69-68): Should have been the leader by himself at eight-under par but missed a two-footer for par at the 16th. His ball striking has been splendid, his putting suspect, evidenced by the miss at 16.
Louie Oosthuizen (71-66): Shrek had the day’s low round and looked like the best player on the course late in the day. The former Open champion made seven birdies on Friday.
SIX-UNDER PAR (138):
Tiger Woods (70-68): His name that close to the lead means no one is talking about anyone else. “It was fun. I felt like I left a few shots out there,” Woods said and indeed he did. He stuck one in there close at the 12th when the weather warning siren blew. After a half-hour delay, he came back and missed the six-footer then missed another birdie putt from seven feet at the par five 13th. But he made up for it with bombs at 14 then 15 and gave it one of the old Tiger fist pumps on the 15th green with a huge roar from the patrons. If he can start holing his short putts, he’s a threat to win major No. 15 but Tiger also hinted he’s concerned about the weekend weather.
Dustin Johnson (68-70): “I’m in good position. I’m satisfied with where I’m at,” said one of the most dangerous contenders. D.J. hasn’t had a really good day yet but there he is, one shot off the lead.
Xander Schauffele (73-65): X-man scored the day’s low round and will pick up some nice crystal for that. He continued to show that his game can help him compete on any stage.
Justin Harding (69-69): Who?
FIVE-UNDER PAR (139):
Ian Poulter (58-71): Not as sharp as he was on Thursday. Does he have the firepower to compete against the big guns in front of him?
Jon Rahm (69-70): Learned a lot playing with Tiger the first two days. “I was patient,” Rahm said and indeed he was, his temper has not flared. What hurt him was no birdies on the back nine Friday. On the good side, he had a bogey-free round.
FOUR-UNDER PAR (140):
Phil Mickelson (67-73): Phil started coming back to earth on Friday. Can’t see Lefty winning another Green Jacket.
Matt Kuchar (71-69): Too much talent up there for Kuch to handle.
Charles Howell III (73-67): Would be Larry Mize, 32 years later for another Augusta native.
Patton Kizzire (70-70): Doesn’t have the pedigree to slip on a Green Jacket.
There are a half-dozen players in at three-under par. Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau are the most likely to succeed although DeChambeau had a horrendous outing on Friday, shooting 75 in nice conditions. Not sure he can recover from that.
In all there are 22 players three-under or better at the 36-hole mark with a total of 35 players under par and another 10 at even par.