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Masters left wide open by favorites

AP Photo
AP | AP

AUGUSTA, Ga. ” Tiger Woods played one shot left-handed and put two balls in the water at Amen Corner. Phil Mickelson spent most of the day scrambling out of the woods.

So much for that two-man show at the Masters.

Augusta National refused to play favorites for anyone Friday on a crisp afternoon, leaving Brett Wetterich and Tim Clark tied for the lead and only one other player under par after two excruciating rounds on a relentless golf course.

Wetterich three-putted for bogey twice over the final three holes and staggered home to a 1-over 73. Clark, the runner-up a year ago to Mickelson, holed a putt from off the 18th green for a 71.

They were at 2-under 142, the highest 36-hole score to lead the Masters in 25 years.

Vaughn Taylor had a chance to join them until missing a 5-foot par putt on the final hole for a 72 that left him one shot behind.

“This golf course is playing so tough right now,” Clark said. “If you’re just a little bit off your game … it’s going to be tough to score.”

Forget that notion that only a dozen or so players are capable of winning at Augusta National. Heading into the weekend, the green jacket was up for grabs ” even for Woods and Mickelson, who have five of them over the six years but have struggled this week.

Woods only dropped one shot from his two water balls on the 12th and 13th, made birdie from well behind the 15th green and somehow escaped with a 74, leaving him at 3-over 147 and among 22 players within five shots of the lead.

“Yesterday, I threw away a good round,” Woods said. “And today I salvaged a bad one. So I kept myself right there in the ball game.”

Another shot behind was Mickelson, who worried about missing the cut when he was lost in the forest left of the 11th fairway. He managed to limit the damage to a bogey, again played mistake-free over the final four holes and shot 73.

“I think anybody who made the cut actually has a realistic chance,” Mickelson said. “With the wind blowing the next two days like it’s supposed to, I think over par is going to win. If you made the cut and shoot in the 60s, you’re right back in it.”

Sixty players made the cut at 8-over 152, the most players to advance to the weekend since 61 players in 1993. But there isn’t a ton of experience at the top.


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