The Masters weekend has begun with Saturday's early pairings on the course, leading up to the tee-times for McIlroy, Day, Choi and Tiger Woods.
Forty-nine players made the cut after the first two rounds at Augusta National. All those with two-day scores of 145 or lower live to fight for the green jacket awarded late Sunday evening.
Tee-times began this morning at 7:35 am EDT. The final pairing of leader Rory McIlroy and Jason Day goes off at 2:45 pm. As of this writing at at 1:00 pm EDT, the most strokes under par of any of the players on the course is two. No major moves have been made at this point on what is traditionally called "moving" day at a golf tournament.
The biggest stories of Friday were that of Fred Couples and Tiger Woods. Couples shot a 68 to climb to -5 for the tournament. It stood out among the young guns who have dominated play since the 51 year-old Freddie, affectionately known as "Boom-Boom" for his long driving ability, has been playing golf longer than some of the competitors have been alive.
Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day played together the first two days of the tournament. Fowler was the slacker of the group, if you will, coming into Saturday tied with Freddie and Ricky Barnes, Y.E. Yang and Lee Westwood at -5. His young compatriots sit at -10 (McIlroy) and -8 (Day). The three youngsters' average age is 22 years old.
As for Mr. Woods, he shook the Augusta National grounds on Friday with a round of 66 to go along with his first day's score of 71. In one day he went from an afterthought to tied for third place, looking up at only two other golfers between him and glory.
The round of 66 wasn't pretty however, until he got to the back nine. There he carded five birdies, including one on the final hole of the day. He showed off the well-known scrambling techniques we have come to associate with Tiger Woods by hitting out of the pine straw or the second cut off the fairway. He was positioning himself on the green for birdies and an eagle on almost every hole.
The front nine was not a thing of beauty. He began the day with a bogey at the first hole, a place he has struggled in every Masters tournament he has entered. That leveled him at par and from there he carded two more bogeys on the front nine to go along with four birdies. What a stunning round of golf Woods' would have had if he could have kept the mistakes to a minimum. He surely could have matched the round of the day, shot by Australian Jason Day. Day shot a bogey-free round of 64 on Friday. It surpassed the previous low round for a first time participant on the second day of the The Masters.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, Augusta National golf course