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Tiger Woods breaks record as US trio lead at Masters

By primenewsghana
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American trio Scottie Scheffler, Bryson DeChambeau and Max Homa share the lead while Tiger Woods made a record 24th consecutive halfway cut at the Masters.

Homa's 71 was one of only eight under par rounds on a blustery day two at Augusta as he improved to six under.

Round one leader DeChambeau shot a 73, while Scheffler scrambled a 72.

England's Tommy Fleetwood and Danny Willett are five back at one under, but Rory McIlroy's challenge faded with a 77 that leaves him at four over.

Willett had been four under on the 18th tee but a wayward drive and taking two shots to get out of a greenside bunker led to a triple-bogey seven.

Defending champion Jon Rahm conceded he had been "fighting all day" as he signed for a 76 and squeezed into the weekend on five over, one shot inside the cut mark.

Woods, who carved out a 72 to reach halfway on one over, insisted after his round that "anyone who makes the weekend has a chance".

It was a tough day for all the players, with strong and gusting winds playing havoc throughout and contributing to glacially slow play, with balls moving on greens and sand being blown from bunkers.

The only player to shoot in the 60s was Masters debutant Ludvig Aberg whose three-under 69 saw him surge into the top seven on two under.

McIlroy, Scheffler and Xander Schauffele were one of the last groups to finish and took six hours and two minutes to complete their 18 holes.

Danish debutant Nicolai Hojgaard is two off the lead after mixing four birdies with five bogeys in his 73. He is one ahead of two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and Australian Cameron Davis.

Woods makes history at Augusta

Before the tournament, Woods jointly held the record for most consecutive cuts at tournaments played with Fred Couples and Gary Player on 23.

When he began his streak of made cuts in April 1997, 17 of the players in this week's field were not even born.

On Friday, Woods needed to finish five holes from round one before swiftly moving into round two.

Previously this year, he had only played 25 holes at a tournament before he withdrew through illness from the second round of the Genesis Invitational in February, so walking 23 in one day was likely to be a challenge.

However, despite his physical exertions, the 48-year-old American showed all his nous to navigate a rollercoaster front nine where he carded three birdies and three bogeys.

With the wind strengthening as his round progressed, he produced a series of fine par putts and a birdie on the 15th, after dropping a shot at 14, to stay well above the cut line.

"I'm tired. And I'm really really hungry, I could do with some food and some caffeine," said the 15-time major champion when asked how he felt after his round.

American group lead the way

In 87 previous Masters tournaments, the United States have supplied 63 of the winners. At the halfway stage, this edition is heading the same way.

World number one Scheffler looked marginally more ruffled in the weather conditions than he had when shooting 66 in the first round but again showed impeccable course management to join the leaders.

He briefly dropped two shots back when bogeying the seventh but immediately rebounded with a birdie and held the outright lead midway through his round.

An uncharacteristic mistake at the par-five 13th, when he hit his second shot into the stream protecting the green, cost him a shot but he played conservative golf for the rest of his round to ensure he stayed at the top.

After an impressive opening round of 65, DeChambeau battled tentative putting and swirling winds to try and maintain his lead.

His highlight came at 13 when he found the trees off the tee so opted to play his second down the 14th fairway and then hit his third to 14 feet and holed the birdie putt.

However, he came unstuck at the last when he misjudged the wind when hitting his second shot and ended up 65 feet from the pin. A three-putt bogey followed.

"That was one of the toughest tests of golf I have had in my life," said DeChambeau. "The conditions were so difficult.

"Shooting one over par was not bad. I have a chance and all I can ask for is to play my way into an opportunity come Sunday."

Meanwhile, Homa, who was playing with Woods, enjoyed a sparkling start, birdieing the second and the fourth to join DeChambeau at the top of the leaderboard on seven under.

He briefly led the tournament after DeChambeau bogeyed the fourth and, after dropping a shot on the 11th, he parred his way home.

McIlroy and Rahm among many to struggle

After shooting under par for the first time in six years in his opening round at the Masters on Thursday, McIlroy was only six shots off the lead.

However, amid the swirling winds, he went backwards on Friday.

Bogeys at five and seven were followed by a damaging double bogey at the 11th when he found the water.

Rahm also struggled. One over after round one, he made three bogeys plus a double bogey, but found excellent birdies on 15 and 16 to ensure he made the cut.

At least they will both play this weekend. The Open champion Brian Harman dropped 11 shots on the final eight holes of his first round early on Friday and although he responded with a level-par 72 in round two, his nine-over total sees him eliminated from the tournament.

He was joined on that number by 2015 Masters winner Jordan Spieth, who imploded at the 15th in round one, making a quadruple-bogey nine, and posted a 73 in round two. The 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson is also going home after finishing on 13 over.

It was also a tough day for England's Justin Rose who dropped five shots to end up at seven over.

However, Vijay Singh, who won his Green Jacket in 2000, did make the cut at the age of 61. The popular Fijian bogeyed the 18th to finish one over for round two and four over for the championship.