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2012 Masters Round 2 Recap

Johnie Freatman |
April 7, 2012 | 1:28 a.m. PDT

Sports Staff Writer

Woods will need a big Round 3 to come close to contention (Creative Commons/jpellgen).
Woods will need a big Round 3 to come close to contention (Creative Commons/jpellgen).
With 18 players within three shots of the lead, the weekend is shaping up to be a thrilling one at The Masters. Here are the five biggest storylines from Day 2:

  1. Tiger’s Troubles -- After shooting a 75 Friday and retreating to eight shots behind the lead in a tie for 40th place, Tiger Woods, who many predicted would win, will need a big day on Saturday just to get back into contention. Perhaps most disturbing isn’t the score Woods shot but how lost he looked. Many of his shots were disturbingly off-target and he wasn’t nearly reminiscent of the player who won by five shots in his last event. If there’s any solace for Woods, it’s that Augusta National can produce volatility; just last year, he made up seven shots on his final-round front nine.
  2. Couples’ Magic -- Fred Couples continues to turn back the clock at Augusta National, where he now has a share of the lead after a five-under 67. He was only even par through seven holes but then brought The Masters patrons to their feet with five birdies in his last 12 holes. This year marks the 20-year anniversary of Couples’ lone Masters title, and if the 52-year-old is to become the oldest major champion of all-time, his often balky back will have to cooperate. Knowing how improbable another Green Jacket would be, Couples provided the line of the day when he said he’d quit playing non-Masters tournament golf with a win. “It would be a walk-off. I am dead serious when I say that. What a way to go,” he said.
  3. Mickelson, McIlroy Make A Move -- With Woods struggling, the other two favorites surged their way toward the top of the leaderboard. McIlroy is only one shot off the lead after an impressive 69 that featured much improvement in his driving. After playing his first 11 holes in even par, Mickelson birdied four of his last seven to reach two under. There’s a good chance both players will be in the mix on the back nine on Sunday and a win by either player would be very popular. McIlroy is trying to atone for the heartbreak of last year, when he took a four-shot lead into the final round only to implode with an 80. Along with Couples, Mickelson is one of the game’s biggest fan favorites. He already has three Masters titles, and a fourth would put him in an exclusive club with only Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods.
  4. Dufner’s Resolve -- Couples is joined at the top of the leaderboard by Jason Dufner, who has yet to win a PGA Tour event at 35 years of age. However, like McIlroy, Dufner is seeking major redemption. He appeared destined to win last year’s PGA Championship before bogeying three of the last four holes and losing in a playoff to Keegan Bradley. This is only the second time Dufner has qualified for The Masters but he produced six birdies on Friday and is 36 holes away from getting his first win in the biggest tournament there is.
  5. Age Is Only A Number -- For all the talk about the game going younger, there is quite an age disparity represented in the top-11 of the leaderboard. Not only is Couples, 30 years older than McIlroy, leading the tournament; other contenders include 48-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez and the 41-year-old Mickelson.

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