Friday, April 7, 2017

Golf: Jason Day makes Masters cut, but just barely

Jason Day has proven to be one of those players who seem predestined to wear the Green Jacket one day.

It appears he has to wait for that moment a little while longer.

The Australian world No. 3, whose career is closely followed by many Filipinos because of his parental roots in Leyte, couldn't get his game going in Day 2 of the Masters on Friday, finishing with 5 bogeys and a double bogey for a 76, and barely hanging on for a spot in the weekend rounds.

After 2 rounds, Day is at 6-over 150, tied for 45th place with 8 others.

He is 10 shots off the lowest score, held currently by 4 people -- Americans Charley Hoffman and Rickie Fowler, Thomas Pieters of Belgium and Sergio Garcia, the Spaniard who is the sentimental favorite to win the title.

According to Golf Channel, Day came into Augusta National aware that he wouldn't be at 100%.

In the lead-up to the Masters, Day spent time taking care of his mother Dening, who is battling lung cancer.

 Garcia, winless in 73 major starts, joined Fowler, Hoffman and Pieters in the biggest 36-hole Masters leader logjam since 1973.

A second day of high winds left the top pack -- all seeking a first major win -- level on 4-under par 140 through two rounds.

"It was going to be try and hang on and make sure you didn't play yourself out of the tournament with scoring conditions coming this weekend," Fowler said.

A host of big names -- including second-ranked Rory McIlroy, reigning Olympic champion Justin Rose and past Masters winners Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth -- lurk within five strokes, setting up a mouth-watering weekend showdown in calmer conditions.

"I'm excited about the challenges that this weekend is going to bring, and hopefully I'll step up to them and I'll be able to be up there on Sunday with a solid chance at winning," Garcia said.

Not since a storm-struck Masters 44 years ago ended in a Monday finish had so many people shared the midway lead.

Garcia, who hopes to end his major drought Sunday on what would have been the 60th birthday of the late icon Seve Ballesteros, opened with three birdies and played even from there to stake his claim to the top.

"These first two rounds are probably the best I've ever played at Augusta," Garcia said. "I feel like I played great. I made a lot of great putts.

(With a report from Agence France-Presse)