Masters 2012 Leaderboard: Sneaky Players Ready to Make Big Statements

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 06:  Ben Crane of the United States walks off the second tee during the second round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The first round of The Masters left a lot more questions than answers. Lee Westwood is great at the top, but right below him there is a collection of talent that no one really saw coming. 

It certainly makes for an interesting dynamic heading into the second round on Friday, as well as what we could be in store for throughout the weekend.

Some of these names we know but haven't seen atop the leaderboards in quite some time. Others are foreign to even the most rabid golf fan. Either way, there is plenty to keep an eye on at Augusta right now. 

Here are the players hanging around the top of the leaderboard who are going to make a big statement going into moving day. 


Ben Crane (Currently at -4)

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 22:  Ben Crane plays a shot during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 22, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Crane has been the definition of a solid PGA Tour golfer throughout his career. He has never been good enough to win a major, but in smaller events he would find a way to hang around the top of the leaderboard and even managed to win a few times here and there. 

Now, sitting in second place at the time of writing, Crane is ready to make a dramatic statement. In the first round, he was able to put forth a brilliant effort on the back nine to close at three-under par. 

You don't have to be the best player in the world to put together four rounds of golf. Crane is not a great driver, either in terms of distance or accuracy, but he is in a groove right now. 


Francesco Molinari (Currently at -3)

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 05:  Francesco Molinari of Italy hits an approach shot on the second hole during the first round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

After an okay start on the front nine in round 1, Molinari hit his stride after he made the turn. He did hit one bogey on 12, but came right back with three birdies on the next four holes to finish the day at three-under. 

With the benefit of a late-morning start, Molinari can get himself composed and focus on what he did so well after making the turn to keep his momentum going on Friday. 

Molinari has been flirting with the top of the leaderboard in his two previous PGA Tour events this year—finishing 17th at the Accenture Match Play Championships and 13th at the Cadilllac Championship. 


Ian Poulter (Currently at -2)

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 05:  Ian Poulter of England hits a tee shot on the fourth hole during the first round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

After an up-and-down first round, Poulter is putting together some terrific play in the second round. He is making the turn with two birdies and no bogeys on his card. 

It has been a long time since we have seen Poulter really challenge for a major—he finished second at the U.S. Open in 2008—but he is making Augusta look like his personal playground right now. 

As long as he doesn't leave it all out there on Friday, his accuracy and poise on the course makes Poulter a strong contender heading into the weekend. 


For complete coverage of The Masters, be sure to check out our live hole-by-hole analysis and updated leaderboard by clicking here