Reed (9 birdies) jumps to second-round lead at Masters

Patrick Reed might not be the most likable guy on the PGA Tour, but the dude can sure golf his ball, and he carries the swagger of a gunfighter that’s stared down plenty of rivals.

That attitude and talent were at the ready on Friday as Reed shot a 6-under-par 66 to surge to a 36-hole total of 9-under 135 and assume a two-shot lead after the second round of play at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

Australian Marc Leishman is alone in second place at 137 after a 67 on Friday, with Henrik Stenson of Sweden (70) two more in arrears at 139.

First-round leader Jordan Spieth (74) and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (71) finished at 140 during the early wave of players in the second round, one stroke up on world No. 1 player Dustin Johnson (68) and Justin Thomas (67).

Reed had nine birdies and three bogeys in his round on Friday, getting to 10-under for the tournament with a birdie on the 15th hole before a bogey on the 16th. He is the only player in the field to shoot both the first two rounds in the 60s.

“I just kind of kept myself out of trouble today and let my putter do the work,” Reed said on ESPN afterward. “It was one of those days when I felt I didn’t hit my iron shots as well as I did yesterday, but I put the shots in the right spots and that allowed me to be aggressive with the putter.”

Reed has been 21-over-par in his past two Masters appearances, including a missed cut in 2017. He said even in those poor rounds, he learned how better to attack the course at Augusta National.

“I’ve become a lot more comfortable with the golf course through the years,” Reed explained. “In those poor rounds I’ve hit shots where I had to play defensively, and that’s been a huge change this week. I accept that when I have to hit a chip shot, I will have to play from eight feet rather than try to hit the miracle shot.”

Leishman birdied his first three holes and added another on the 13th before bogeying the 14th. He then hit a 40-yard hook from the left of the fairway on the 15th to inside of eight feet to set up an eagle. He also said his putter has been the difference for him this week.

“My iron play has been really good and the putter has been good, which is always important around this place,” Leishman said. “When I’ve played well here, I’ve been in a position to see what it takes to win. You have to take your opportunities when you get them, take some chances and make some putts.”

A group of six players are tied for eighth at 142: Charley Hoffman (73), Tony Finau (74), Rickie Fowler (72), Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa (71), Justin Rose of England (70) and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (69).

Cameron Smith of Australia (72), Jon Rahm of Spain (68), Bernd Wiesberger of Austria (73) and Matt Kuchar (75) ended the day at 143, while Jimmy Walker (71), Hideki Matsuyama of Japan (71), 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson (74), Canadian Adam Hadwin (75) and England’s Tommy Fleetwood (72) are at even-par 144.

Four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods finished 36 holes at 148 after a 75 on Friday.

“I hit a lot of good putts that just didn’t go in today,” Woods said. “I just didn’t hit my iron shots very crisp and clean and didn’t control my distance and shape very well. I am going to have to shoot a special weekend, and I’m going to need some help to get back in this tournament — I don’t control my own destiny because I’m so far back.”

Defending tournament winner Sergio Garcia, who had a 13 on the 15th hole in the first round to all but end his chance as a repeat, finished at 159, 15-over-par for the tournament and tied for 82nd place in the 87-player field.

Among those players who missed the cut were Patrick Cantlay, India’s Shubhankar Sharma, Thomas Pieters of Belgium, Gary Woodland, Billy Horschel, 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize and 2009 winner Angel Cabrera.

Rain, with possible thunderstorms, and much cooler weather is expected for Saturday’s round.

–Field Level Media