If you think you’ve seen it all, well think again.
First, we saw Zac Johnson nut his ball into the side tee marker before picking it up to hit again. Luckily for Johnson USGA rule 6.2 section 5 allows him to re place his ball and go again.
(5) Ball Is Not in Play Until Stroke Is Made. Whether the ball is teed or on the ground, when starting a hole or playing again from the teeing area under a Rule:
- The ball is not in play until the player makes a stroke at it, and
- The ball may be lifted or moved without penalty before the stroke is made.
- If a teed ball falls off the tee or is knocked off the tee by the player before the player has made a stroke at it, it may be re-teed anywhere in the teeing area without penalty.
Then we saw an over anxious security guard almost take out Tiger Woods ankles as he slipped on the pine straw and slid like a runner into home base connecting his right knee with Tigers ankle. It was an amazing shot by Tiger by the way as similarly to the day before Tiger found the left rough, chose to hit an approach through the narrowest of gaps, hit the green and went on to make birdie.
The leader board is stacked with major winners, the world’s Top 10 ranked golfers and not much between them. Whilst Adam Scott should be in the lead after missing a short Par putt on 16 and then further opportunities on 17 and 18, he joins a group of 5 at -7 and leading The Masters.
Brooks Koepka and Bryson Dechambeau shot out of the blocks on Thursday to lead the field with -6. Neither of them could find the same form on Friday as Koepka finished with a round of -1 (71) and Dechambeau dropped back in the field with a +3 (75).
A record 65 golfers from the starting field of 87 have now qualified for the final 36 holes, surpassing the 64-man weekend in 1966. Four amateurs – Victor Hovland, Alvaro Ortiz, Devon Bling and Takumi Kanaya – made the cut, the most in 20 years.
But first, let’s look at BGA’s Top 10 selections and how they fair;
10 – Adam Scott – CURRENT POSITION: T1 (-7)
Fair to say we got this one right so far. Adam Scott is in form and looks as good as ever. As usual, the putter is costing Scotty from being further in front, but his iron play is pure which was on full display with his approach shot into the Par 5 15th. It was majestical to say the least and you could see the smile on his face as soon as he hit it. He knew it was good and set up a short Eagle putt which he converted.
9 – Francesco Molinari – CURRENT POSITION – T1 (-7)
Another good pick thus far. In usual Molinari fashion, he simply goes about this business and gets the job done. With only one bogie so far in his first 36 holes, Molinari put together 3 birdies on Thursday and a further 5 on Friday for rounds of 70 and 67 and a share of the lead.
8 – Tiger Woods – CURRENT POSITION – T6 (-6)
3 out of 3 ain’t bad and the roars of August said it all. Similarly to Adam Scott, Tiger could be further in front had he converted a few more putts inside 10 foot. The stats on Tigers putting inside 15 feet aren’t flattering. But outside of 20 feet, Tiger leads the field and some of his putts late on Friday shook the cameras as the patrons roared and notified the world that Tiger was charging.
7 – Justin Thomas – CURRENT POSITION – T16 (-3)
JT still has a chance but I’m sure would have like a better start then what he produced on Thursday. Finishing with a round of 73, Thomas had 3 bogeys in his opening round but put together a solid -4 round of 68 on Friday with only 1 bogey impacting his three birdies on the front 9 and an Eagle on 15. As we said earlier in the week, Thomas has the ability to go low and could be a big mover on day three.
6 – Tommy Fleetwood – CURRENT POSITION – T23 (-2)
Just hasn’t been able to get it going as yet but is still only 5 shots off the lead. We think that Tommy needs to be closer to the top of the leader board for him to win from here but being close as he is, anything is possible. With back to back rounds of 71, Fleetwood’s had his share of birdies but almost equally a share of bogies. He finished will on Friday but will need to find fire to move along on day three.
5 – Brooks Koepka – CURRENT POSITION – T1 (-7)
The three-time major champion looked in a league of this own on Thursday. His punishing drives consistently placed him in positions that allowed him to take advantage of the tough pin placements especially on the back nine. With four straight birdies from 12 to 15 and no bogies in the opening round, Koepka triggered his way up the leader board and to the top. Unfortunately on Friday, a double bogey on the second and then subsequent bogies on the 4th and 6th pulled Koepka back in the field but he was able to rally and finish with a -1 (71) to be tied 1st at the end of day 2.
4 – Dustin Johnson – CURRENT POSITION – T6 (-6)
Whilst he is top 6, he is only one shot off the lead and no doubt the rest of the field should be worried. With rounds of 68 ad 70, D.J. has only had one bogey in each of the first two rounds. We just don’t feel the putter is hot enough for Johnson to seal the deal but who are we to think he wont when he’s been a proven winner time and time before.
3 – Justin Rose – MISSED CUT – (+4)
It just wasn’t meant to be for the World Number 1. With an opening nine 40 on Thursday, Rose just couldn’t get his groove going. After a Birdie and then Eagle on the 12th and 13th holes, we thought he might make a move to play on the weekend, but bogeys on 15, 17 and 18 pushed him past the +3 cut line and unfortunately out of the 2019 Masters.
2 – Rickie Fowler – CURRENT POSITION – T16 (-3)
Still in contention and only four shots of the lead, Rickie has the ability to make a fast charging move up the board on Saturday. Last year, Rickie had an unbelievable weekend and we wouldn’t be surprised if he did it again this year. His opening rounds haven’t been too crazy but at times has had to rescue himself out of bogeys and double bogeys with some uncomfortable range putts. Rickie hasn’t been striking his irons well as yet and his chipping has been a bit off which would be a concern for him, but watch out if he finds that feeling tomorrow.
1 – Rory McIlroy – CURRENT POSITION – T36 (E)
Well talk about an erratic score card. Our number one pick has been all over the place. His opening round of +1 (73) was made up of six bogeys, five birdies and 7 pars. That was then followed by a round of 71 on Friday with three bogeys, two birdies and an Eagle. Still only seven shots back, every time Rory looked like he was about to move, a mistake soon followed. Can he go low on Saturday and move right in to contention? We think unfortunately our number one pick wants his career Grand Slam too much that it’s affecting what should be a great opportunity. We hope he proves us wrong.
BGA’s PICKING SUMMARY & RATING … well, we give ourselves a 9/10. What do you think? With only one of our picks missing the cut, three of our picks leading The Masters after day three and a further two only one shot behind we’d say our money would be pretty safe right about now.
But where to from here? Who wins from here and why? Well, we now look at our top 5 picks for the weekend and why we believe they will win the Masters from here.
5 – Louis Oosthuizen – CURRENT POSITION – T1 (-7)
One we didn’t initially pick but the owner of arguably the sweetest swing in golf, Louie once had his Green Jacket robbed by a Bubba Watson piece of magic out of the pines. Oosthuizen is smooth and after a round of 66 on Friday, he showed his touch is in form. With seven birdies on the day, Oosthuizen can score on short and long holes.
4 – Jason Day – CURRENT POSITION – T1 (-7)
After kissing his daughter before his opening round, Day’s troublesome back went out again. Following that and an opening hole bogey, we weren’t sure if we was even going to finish his round let alone be tied for the lead at the half way mark. The best thing about Day, he can turn his putter on arguably better then anyone in the field. His Friday round of 67 was full of highlights and he’s been so close at The Masters many times before. He hasn’t been in the best/most consistent form of late but looks dangerous.
3 – Brooks Koepka – CURRENT POSITION – T1 (-7)
As we mentioned earlier, our 5th pick looked a league above the rest on Thursday. Whilst he couldn’t find that same form on Saturday, Brooks could easily streak ahead again on the weekend.
2 – Tiger Woods – CURRENT POSITION – T6 (-6)
There’s walking, and then there’s strutting and on Friday Tiger was strutting like the Tiger of old. Full of confidence hitting amazing shots from troubled spots and sinking long putts (sound familiar?), Tiger is setting the hopes of the golfing world alight. Tiger hit his long putts freely but looked tentative on his short putts missing birdies he easily could have bagged which is the scary part. If he works that out, Tiger can easily move ahead using his experience and excellence to navigate Augusta.
1 – Adam Scott – CURRENT POSITION – T1 (-7)
We said Scott was in form coming in to this week. If you’ve listened to any interviews of Adam Scott this year, even he has said that he’s striking the ball and feeling as good as ever. After play on Friday Sir Nick Faldo even said that Scott was his pick for the weekend, and we couldn’t agree more. Scott looks comfortable, full of confidence and again his ball striking looks a cut above the rest. If he can keep his putter in check or even take it a step further, we think Scotty could find himself wearing another Green Jacket on Sunday and as Aussies, we couldn’t wish for anything more.
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