July 8, 2021

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Canada’s Conners climbs leaderboard ahead of weekend play at Masters

Justin Rose was completely happy sufficient to nonetheless have the lead Friday on the Masters, even when solely by a fraction on a day when Augusta Nationwide was extra forgiving and he needed to rally simply to shoot par.

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., is the highest Canadian at 2 beneath following a 69 for a share of 13th place heading into the weekend. Mackenzie Hughes, from Dundas, Ont., (72) is even par, whereas 2003 inexperienced jacket winner Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., (71) missed the weekend reduce at 5 over.

The 2 gamers proper behind had cause to be thrilled simply to be on the Masters.

One in every of them was Brian Harman, barely inside the highest 100 on the earth a month in the past till two good weeks modified his fortunes. The opposite was 24-year-old Will Zalatoris, who simply over a 12 months in the past was toiling within the minor leagues and nonetheless does not have a full PGA Tour card.

“I wanted to be here my entire life,” Zalatoris stated after birdies on his final three holes for a 4-under 68. “Some people shy away from that, but I’m excited to be here. There’s no reason to feel intimidated now. I made it to here. And obviously, the job is not done by any means.”

WATCH | Canadians Conners, Hughes play into weekend at Masters:

A few Canadians made the reduce on the Masters, as Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., enters the weekend at 2-under whereas Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., sits at even par. 3:46

The job is over for defending champion Dustin Johnson, who bogeyed three of his final 4 holes for a 75 to overlook the reduce by two pictures.

For everybody else, it is simply getting began.

Ten gamers had been inside three pictures of Rose, who had a 72 and was at 7-under 137. That group included former Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who’s coming off a victory final week within the Texas Open and is beginning to appear to be the Spieth of previous, even at age 27.

“Having made a triple and five over-par holes through two rounds, I feel pretty good about being at 5 under,” Spieth stated after a 68.

The group three pictures behind included Si Woo Kim, who performed the ultimate 4 holes and not using a putter that he broke out of frustration. After a three-putt bogey on the 14th and a chip that almost ran off the inexperienced on the 15th, he jammed the pinnacle of the membership into the turf and broken it.

Kim used a fairway metallic to shut with 4 pars and a 69. Requested if he had a backup putter, Kim replied, “No. I don’t want to answer anymore. Sorry.”

WATCH | Rose holds lead at Masters with even spherical on Friday:

Englishman Justin Rose shoots even-par 72 within the 2nd spherical, leads Individuals Will Zalatoris and Brian Harman by 1 stroke. 1:15

Rose was staked to a four-shot lead firstly of a heat, overcast day and it was gone after seven holes. He did not drop a shot the remainder of the way in which, picked up three birdies on the again 9 and salvaged the day.

“Just a classic day at Augusta National when you’re slightly off,” Rose stated. “I kind of told myself going up the eighth hole, `You’re leading the Masters.’ Your frame of reference is a little bit different to yesterday. Four ahead is something, but you’re still leading. So just enjoy it and keep it going.”

The course performed to a median rating of 72.2, in contrast with 74.5 for the opening spherical. There have been 35 rounds beneath par in contrast with 12 on the primary day.

Bernd Wiesberger of Austria and Tony Finau every had 66 to get inside three pictures. Marc Leishman had a 67 and joined Spieth simply two pictures behind.

Justin Thomas, who can returned to No. 1 on the earth with a victory, missed a brief par putt on the ultimate gap and shot 67. He additionally was three pictures behind.

The wild card in all that is Zalatoris, constructed like a 1-iron and already famend for his ball hanging. His late run started with a 9-iron to a again proper pin on the par-3 16th to 10 toes and ended with a wedge from 138 yards on the 18th to five toes that put him within the last group on the weekend at Augusta.

Born in San Francisco, he grew up in Dallas and performed a few of his finest when golf was shut down throughout the pandemic. Zalatoris was on the Korn Ferry Tour, and when golf resumed, he had 5 straight finishes within the prime six, together with his first victory.

That received him into the U.S. Open, the place he tied for sixth. Now he has short-term PGA Tour membership and is among the many prime 50 on the earth, getting him into the Masters. That is why he talks of an “attitude of gratitude.”

Zalatoris is also a fast research with an extended reminiscence. He grew up with the youngsters of former PGA champion Lanny Wadkins, and took in tales of Wadkins and his 23 occasions enjoying the Masters. One story Zalatoris heard when he was 14 years previous got here in helpful on the par-3 12th gap.

“He just said that whenever it’s into the wind … it just doesn’t really affect the ball as much,” Zalatoris stated. “And when it’s downwind, that’s where guys tend to struggle.”

WATCH | Rose surges to early lead on Thursday at Augusta:

40-year-old Englishman Justin Rose has a commanding four-stroke lead after capturing a blistering 7-under 65., together with an eagle on the eighth gap within the opening spherical of the Masters. 2:58

The wind was about 10 mph into him and out of the left, 153 yards to the opening. He hit a shot that usually goes 152 yards and it carried 150. It helped that he made a 35-foot putt for birdie.

Now he heads into the weekend at a serious that’s up for grabs for thus many gamers, minus Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Cantlay, who all missed the reduce.

It has been 42 years since Fuzzy Zoeller turned the newest participant to win the Masters on his first attempt.

Proper there with Zalatoris is one other Dallas resident — Spieth, discovering his kind at a serious the place he has a victory, two runner-up finishes and third place in seven appearances. He thought he may win at Augusta even earlier than he gained final week in Texas.

“I’m in position now to think that for sure,” Spieth stated. “But at the halfway point, I would have been pleased with being two back.”

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