Day two of the Masters has concluded. We saw a teenager make a cut, Tiger take the lead, Sergio collapse, and some old guy named Couples is still hanging around. My winners from Friday.
- 1. Tianlang Guan
I will never be able to stress this enough: this kid is 14 years old. He was my No. 1 in yesterday's winners for the simple fact that he is an eighth grader playing at Augusta National in the smallest major championship field there is. He is my No. 1 after Friday's round because he is 14 years and 5 months old and made the cut in said major championship. This makes him almost two full years younger than the previous record-holder for the youngest to make a major cut since 1990. What's more, he was assessed a one-stroke penalty for slow play. This, in the end, bumped him up to 4-over-par for the tournament, right on the projected cut line at the time. How did the teenager who is still years away from being legally allowed to drive a golf cart react?
"I respect the decision," he told ESPN.
Guan won on all levels on Friday. He won on the course, off the course, in the media room - everywhere. And he's my winner today.
- 2. Fred Couples
Couples hasn't won at Augusta in 21 years. He's 53 years old and wakes up most mornings with back pain. On Saturday, he will wake up tied for second in his 29th Masters, knotted up with Marc Leishman and one back from leader Jason Day. He wasn't spectacular on Friday, hitting just 10 greens, but there's no griping over a 4-under-par 68 with a bogey on 18.
"It's a hard course out there," Couples told ESPN. "I felt very good about what I shot. I had a couple of little hiccups out there and did some other good things to shoot my score. But the golf course is winning today."
Fifty-three years old and tied for second, Fred? I'd say you're winning.
- 3. Australia
How bad do these guys want to win a Masters? Before we get started on Norman's well-documented Masters curse or Bruce Crampton's stymied comeback, let's just take a look at the present. Jason Day and Adam Scott came painstakingly close in 2011, before Charl Schwartzel closed in with a never-before-seen four straight birdies and stole the show, leaving the Aussies once more bereft of a Masters title.
But they sure seem to be making the extra effort this year. Leishman led yesterday and now sits comfortably tied with Couples at No. 2 while his compatriot, Day, leads the field at 6-under-par. Scott, who it seems is only a matter of time before he takes one home, stands in seventh with Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and a host of others.
The last Aussie in the field is John Senden, and he's tied for 14th at 2-under. If this isn't the year it happens, it's difficult to say when, if ever, a bigger opportunity will come along.
- 4. Angel Cabrera
The four-spot goes to Cabrera, the 2009 champion, because he was one of the scant few without an epic collapse down the stretch. In fact, he did quite the opposite of the likes of Dustin Johnson (two double-bogeys and a bogey in the final four holes) or Sergio Garcia (finished with a 76, 10 shots higher than yesterday). Cabrera closed with five birdies in his final six holes to finish with a total of 140 through two days and earn him a spot tied for fourth with Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker.
- 5. Tiger Woods
Yes, Woods is out of the top five after day two, a position that just one of that past 14 Masters' winners have come back to win from. But at one point, Woods held a share for the lead. That was enough for the golf world to stop, for ESPN to grin from ear to ear, and for twitter to explode. Due to equal parts bad luck and sloppy play, Woods finished three back from Day at 3-under. But if you're Day, and you see Woods in big, red lettering just three shots behind and playing in a later group, are you comfortable? Not a chance. All Woods needs to do is to keep within striking distance. We've seen what can happen on the weekends when he does.
Travis Mewhirter has been working in the golf industry since 2007, when he was a bag room manager at Piney Branch Golf Club in Carroll County, Maryland, and has been involved, as a player, since 2004. Since then, he has worked at Hayfields Country Club, where the Constellation Energy Classic was formerly held, and has covered golf at the high school, college, and professional levels.
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- Tiger Woods
- Jason Day