The second round of the Masters is complete, and with it some very, very interesting happenings around Augusta National.
Bubba Watson took full control of the Masters, hoping to win for the second time here in the last three years. His round was highlighted by five birdies in a row on his back nine, and he was a short miss on the 18th away from posting the low round of the tournament. Still, Bubba sits at 7-under, three clear of his competitors and in full control of his destiny at Augusta National.
With Bubba leading, it was up to some of his competitors to make their way up the leaderboard on another tough day at Augusta National.
John Senden and Thomas Bjorn were both able to post fine rounds to get within three and four shots of the lead, while the timeless Fred Couples posted a second straight 71 to sit at 2-under for the tournament, five back of Bubba.
The two biggest names chasing Watson are the defending champion, Adam Scott, who despite three early bogeys was able to post an even-par round of 72 thanks to three birdies on his back nine, and Jordan Spieth, who stole the show with his 2-under 70 to sit at 3-under for the week, four back of Bubba.
There were plenty to choose from on this Friday, but the award for toughest round considering where he sat after the opening 18 belongs to Rory McIlroy.
The two-time major winner looked poised to make a run, but a double-bogey on the fourth was just the start of his troubles at Augusta National. McIlroy ended his day with a back-nine 40, not making a single birdie on his way in and needed a tough five-footer on the 18th hole just to make the cut.
If this was Rory's tournament to be had before the week began, it is now just another disappointing week at Augusta National for the 24-year-old hoping to add a third leg of the career Grand Slam.
The hole that really changed some rounds on Friday was the par-5 15th. Spieth made a great eagle there to get himself into one of the final groups. Watson, Scott and Jim Furyk added circles on their cards on the 15th, and while it is still a hole that takes absolutely precise golf shots to be rewarded, it was the hole on the back nine that the players seemed to attack and one that allowed aggressive play to be rewarded.
“Learning to be a good dad, learning to be a better husband, it takes time on you, it takes energy. And then learning how to refocus, repractice, get back to the level that I think I should be at ... top-25 player in the world. Not going to say top-five player in the world. Sorry, Patrick Reed.” — Leader Bubba Watson, taking a slight jab at Reed after his second round 68
Bubba Watson was on a real run after his birdie on the par-5 15th, but it was his tee shot on the 16th that had the crowds standing up and Bubba nearly biting his iron in half.
The pin was back left on the par-3, and Bubba played it brilliantly up the hill, allowing the ball to come back towards the hole and nearly disappear for the hole-in-one. He settled for the birdie, but it was a great wrap to an incredible five-birdie run from our leader.
The trunk slamming at the 2014 Masters might be more star-studded than the leaderboard.
Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Graham DeLaet, Angel Cabrera, Patrick Reed, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner were all big names that weren't able to make it to the weekend.
Saturday is Moving Day at the Masters, and it is going to take some serious moving from some of the people in the middle of this leaderboard to have a chance at catching Bubba Watson by Sunday.
Can Bubba hold this lead he's built or will he struggle to close it out like we've seen him do in the past when he's had leads on the PGA Tour? Can Adam Scott put together a round like Thursday to get into the final group and bring us the last two champions of this event battling for another green jacket? Can Fred Couples shake his Saturday demons and put a score together?
All of these questions will be answered on Saturday, so make sure you follow us on Twitter for updates over the next two days and get ready for some fireworks at Augusta National as the second half of the 2014 Masters begins.