2014 Masters, Day 2: Bubba Again
By Torleif Sorenson on 4/11/14

Take me to your leader (board)

Perhaps it is because he won this tournament in 2012 and has secured his place in the field. Perhaps it is familiarity with this beguiling course. Perhaps it is because so many of the holes at Augusta National Golf Club are dogleg lefts. Whatever the case, Bubba Watson is in the lead at the 36-hole cut at -7. After a bogey-free 69 on Thursday, Watson mixed in six birdies with bogeys at 9 and 18. And although he leads by three, Watson would be well-advised to avoid bogeying the 18th this weekend.

He is three shots clear of Australian John Senden, who is alone in second at -4. After two early bogeys at 1 and 4, Senden hit the proverbial gas pedal, reeling off six birdies in 11 holes. Familiarity did not breed contempt in the 42-year-old: "I've been here five times now and learned where to go and where not to go," said Senden afterward. Senden and Bubba will play together in the final pairing on Saturday.

Close behind

Senden's fellow countryman and the defending champion, Adam Scott is in a four-way tie for third at -3. Scott couldn't capitalize on yesterday's 69; he bogeyed 1, 4, and 5 being turning it around after the turn. The Aussie birdied 12 and 13, then got another at 15 to shoot 72 and stay on the first page of the leaderboard.

Jordan Spieth turned heads with a magnificent eagle at 15, although he had a seesaw round the rest of the way; mixing three bogeys with three birdies. Having shot 71-70, he is at -3, tied with Scott and two Scandinavians, Thomas Bjørn and Jonas Blixt. The 43-year-old Bjørn turned it on late in his round, birdieing 14, 15, and 16 to get to -3, followed by a bogey at 17 and a birdie at the last. Blixt, the 29-year-old Swede had a wider hill and valley on Friday; he started at -2 and got to -4 at the third. An awful double-bogey at 11 might have damaged a lesser player (and it did seriously dent another seriously good player), but Blixt took advantage of the two remaining par-5s by getting birdie and getting back to -3.

Two veterans, 54-year-old Fred Couples and 43-year-old Jim Furyk are tied for 7th at -2 with 35-year-old Masters rookie Jimmy Walker.

Fore left!

Rory McIlroy has won two major championships in impressive fashion, but for some reason, the Northern Irishman has trouble on the left side of the fairways at Augusta National. Three times on Friday, McIlroy found a 6 on his scorecard.

At the 2nd hole, Rory hit into the azaleas and had to chop back to the fairway. He two-putted to save bogey. At 10, McIlroy flew the green with his approach, landing in the pine straw. His third didn't even make it onto the green, catching in the thick grass. A frustrating two-putt meant double-bogey 6. At the 11th, McIlroy could not coax his chip-shot third near the hole, resulting in a two-putt bogey 5.

But the 13th hole was truly bizarre for McIlroy. A fine tee-shot left him with an iron approach that ricocheted off a sprinkler head and into the azaleas deep behind the green. His pitch shot didn't even get onto the the green, and a delicate chip shot went ten feet beyond the hole. Yet another frustrating two-putt resulted in another six. Playing the final five holes in level par, McIlroy did rather well to make the 36-hole cut right on the number.

This writer is convinced that McIlroy will someday win The Masters, but it won't be in 2014. And if I turn out to be wrong, I will give up pizza for an entire month — until May 13, to be exact.

An expensive Bill to pay

Bill Haas fell off the leaderboard like a bag of cement on Friday, shooting a 78 that included seven bogeys. At 11, Haas's tee-shot landed in the pine straw left, forcing him to do a Tom Watson-style one-handed backward chip back to the fairway. After missing the green with his approach, Haas two-putted for an ugly 6 that took him out of red figures.

Cuts Like a Knife

Among the notables to miss the cut this year are three-time champion Phil Mickelson (76-73), 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel (73-76), four-time major champion Ernie Els (75-74), and former number-one-ranked Luke Donald (79-70).

Shockingly and amazingly, the "top five in the world" Patrick Reed shot 73-79 to miss the weekend by four strokes.  (Insert game show-loser-sound effect.)

Leaderboard and highlights

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Image via Twitter, The Masters

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