October 24, 2014

Watson leads Masters at midway point, Stricker still alive

Bubba Watson fired a 4-under-par 68 in Friday’s second round of the 78th Masters and heads to the weekend with a 3-stroke

Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker

advantage over John Senden.

Watson won the Masters in 2012, while Senden has never finished higher than 35th.

After only three top 10 finishes a year ago, Watson already has four in 2014, including a victory in the Northern Trust Open.

Watson has been good off the tee and even better in hitting greens.  He birdied five straight holes on Friday, holes 12 through 16.

AUDIO: Watson said it’s all about hitting greens :10

After Senden, four players are 4-shots behind Watson, including defending Masters champion Adam Scott, who shot an even par 72 on Friday.  The others, Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt and Jordan Spieth.

What speaks even louder is the list of players that didn’t make the cut.  Tiger Woods isn’t playing this week because of back surgery.  He’ll be joined on the sidelines by Phil Mickelson, who missed the cut for the first time in 17 years and just the second time in 22 Masters starts.

There’s plenty of other big names that won’t be around for the weekend.  Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els, all failed to make the cut.

Steve Stricker

Madison’s Steve Stricker has struggled with his driver but still managed to scramble on the first two days of the tournament and stands at 1-over par at the midway point.  He trails Bubba Watson by 8-shots heading to the weekend.

Stricker has hit only 16 of 28 fairways and shot a 1-over-par 73 on Friday.  Stricker birdied his first hole on Friday, then made three straight bogeys on holes 5 through 7 before playing the last 11 holes at 1-under.

Stricker will play today’s third round with Larry Mize and will tee off at 11:35am this morning.

Jordan Niebrugge

Amateur Jordan Niebrugge of Mequon missed the 36-hole cut on Friday, but his second round turned out considerably better than his opening round on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Oklahoma State standout followed his first-round 81 with a 2-over-par 74 on Friday.

Niebrugge earned his Masters invitation by winning the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links title.