Spieth and Els among early starters

Published: Friday 10th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Conditions were again perfect for the early starters in the second round of the 79th Masters, but recent history suggested the odds were against those not already high on the leaderboard.

The last nine winners of the year’s first major championship had been inside the top 10 after the first round, which was good news for the likes of four-time major winner Ernie Els and 2013 US Open champion Justin Rose in joint second.

But it was bad news for the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson, with Woods tied for 41st after an opening 73 and McIlroy and defending champion Watson joint 18th on one under.

Jordan Spieth held a three-shot lead after a stunning 64 on Thursday, but it was not all good news for last year’s runner-up, who has finished first, second and second in his last three tournaments.

The last player to hold the outright lead after the first round and go on to win was Ben Crenshaw in 1984, although Trevor Immelman was joint leader on his way to the green jacket in 2008.

Els and Spieth were among the early starters on Friday, with McIlroy having to wait until the penultimate starting time of 1:48pm to resume his bid to complete the career grand slam.

The top 50 players and ties will make the halfway cut, along with any player within 10 shots of the lead.

A beautifully judged pitch to the par-five second, which expertly utilised the contours of the green, set up a first birdie of the day for Els, moving the 45-year-old to six under par.

But a good chance went begging on the next when the South African followed a big drive to within 30 yards of the green with a somewhat clumsy chip to 20 feet and saw his birdie putt narrowly miss the hole.

Published: Friday 10th April 2015 by The News Editor

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