Heading into the biggest weekend in the entire golfing calendar, Englishman Justin Rose leads the way in the Masters, although he has had his lead cut to just one shot, now on seven under par. After heading the field by four shots after the first round, American duo Will Zalatoris and Brian Harman were able to close the gap after Rose carded a level-par 72 in the second round.
One of the shocks of the entire sporting year came as last year’s champion and world number one Dustin Johnson, who set a record score of 20 under par in November failed to make the cut. As the scores in the second round improved, it soon became clear that Johnson’s +5 wouldn’t be enough to take him into the weekend, as he and several other big names came up short.
Sergio Garcia finished on +4, just missing out, while Lee Westwood, Brooks Koepka and Danny Willett all finished five over par. Fan favourite Rory McIllroy also disappointed, finishing six over par as other players consistently shot birdies to raise the cut score to +3. This came after only twelve players shot under par in the opening round, but due to more favourable wind conditions, scores began to drop on the second day.
Can Rose win it?
Well, he never has before, having finished as runner-up on two occasions. In fact, over his career, the 40-year-old has now led the field four times heading into day two, and has now led or co-led a round on seven separate occasions, the most of any player not to win the Augusta National.
History shows us he is unlikely to win the green jacket and his day two performance was far from perfect, but he did scoop three birdies in four holes to strengthen his position. "The finger was moving towards the panic button, it was a poor start for sure," he said. "Rarely do you put together a great round and back it up with another the following day. My intention was to play free and I did that."
Who are the other contenders?
Several big names have been dropped but Will Zalatoris is making a name for himself, looking to become the first debutant to win the tournament since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. His three successive birdies on the back nine put him on six under and will see him go toe-to-toe with Rose on Saturday. Meanwhile, Brian Harman, also six under, has perhaps been the most consistent performer of the competition to date, scoring consecutive 69s to share second place with his countryman.
Jordan Spieth, looks well set to make a charge on five under, and having won the Masters in 2015, knows what it takes in the final two days. Having won the Texas Open last week, he made up two shots on Rose with a four under round of 68 as this dangerous trio of Americans pile the pressure on the English leader.
World number two Justin Thomas sits at four under, three shots behind the leader but he missed a huge opportunity on the last, as he dropped a shot by missing a three-foot putt for par. South Korean contender Kim Si-woo is on the same score and provided fireworks as he was forced to use his three-wood to putt on the final three holes, after damaging his putter in frustration on the 15th.
Round Three Tee Times (BST) - Saturday, 10 April
14:40 I Poulter (Eng), P Casey (Eng)
14:50 A Scott (Aus), S Munoz (Col)
15:00 B Horschel (US), P Mickelson (US)
15:10 J Kokrak (US), F Molinari (Ita)
15:20 W Simpson (US), C Bezuidenhout (SA)
15:30 J Herman (US), J Niemann (Chi)
15:40 M Wallace (Eng), L Oosthuizen (SA)
15:50 P Reed (US), JM Olazabal (Spa)
16:00 C Schwartzel (SA) H English (US)
16:20 T Hatton (Eng), S Scheffler (US)
16:30 K Na (US), G Woodland (US)
16:40 J Rahm (Spa), M Laird (Sco)
16:50 A Ancer (Mex), B Watson (US)
17:00 H Stenson (Swe), B Todd (US)
17:10 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), M Thompson (US)
17:20 S Lowry (Ire), T Fleetwood (Eng)
17:30 M Hughes (Can), R MacIntyre (Sco)
17:40 S Cink (US), V Hovland (Nor)
18:00 B DeChambeau (US), M Jones (Aus)
18:10 C Morikawa (US), C Conners (Can)
18:20 R Palmer (US), C Smith (Aus)
18:30 H Matsuyama (Jpn), X Schauffele (US)
18:40 SW Kim (Kor), C Champ (US)
18:50 T Finau (US), J Thomas (US)
19:00 J Spieth (US) B Wiesberger (Aut)
19:10 B Harman (US), M Leishman (Aus)
19:20 J Rose (Eng), W Zalatoris (US)