Chad Campbell continues to lead at the Masters, but he is now joined by Kenny Perry atop the leader board. Both competitors sit at -9.
Campbell started hot again today, recording birdies on two of the first four holes. He was as much as five shots in front at one point, when his scored reached -11, but fell back to the pack a bit as he recorded a one-over 37 on the back nine.
Both leaders are taking advantage of the easy scoring through the first two rounds and enjoy a three-stroke lead over Todd Hamilton and Angel Cabrera, who are in a tie for second at -6.
Hamilton managed to record a birdie on holes eight, nine, and 10 to catapult himself up the leader board; he finished the day at -6 for the tournament, which puts him in fourth place as of now.
The weather conditions on the first day in Augusta were beautiful: A warm, sunny day with little wind allowed for a record 19 players to shoot in the 60’s, and 19 others broke par.
But the skies toughened up on Friday, and quite considerably at that, and good scoring has been harder to come by.
Swirling winds and puffy clouds have firmed up the greens and are hinting at storms in the late afternoon.
The lowest score turned in thus far today has been Kenny Perry’s 67, and four rounds in the 80's have been recorded so far. To this point, only two Friday scores have been in the 60’s (Steve Stricker shot a 69 to go with Perry’s 67).
If the weather continues to worsen, expect the scores to tighten up. Shooting par could become what it takes to win this tournament, and the leaders at -9 might start to fall back to the pack.
Hole eight continues to yield birdies for the field and remains one of the easier holes on course. Hole nine has also been particularly favorable for the field, but the 10th has continued to live up to its hype as one of the toughest on the course.
Hole 8 – Yellow Jasmine – Par 5 – 570 yards
The long par five continues to be one of the easiest holes of the tournament.
Currently playing as the third easiest hole of the day, Yellow Jasmine has yielded 28 birdies, the most of any hole so far. It has also surrendered two eagles, and only 11 scores above par have been recorded here (10 bogeys, 1 double).
The pin placement is in the front part of the green, and with a green sloping from back to front, a lot of long shots funnel forward.
Expect the field to continue to attack the eighth hole. It should continue to yield scores, and players will most certainly try to take advantage of this.
Not many holes are favoring the players today, but the eighth hole is one that competitors can capitalize on. The par five is average a 4.7 score today.
Hole 9 – Carolina Cherry – Par 4 – 460 yards
The ninth hole is hit-or-miss today.
Playing as the tenth most difficult hole, only 14 birdies have been yielded by Carolina Cherry. In comparison, it's been responsible for 25 bogeys and one double bogey.
The hole is averaging a 4.2 score and doesn’t look to let up any time soon.
Expect players to become more conservative on the ninth hole. The pin placement puts the hole in an unenviable spot: It's nestled on the middle layer of the three-layered green, and players who play the hole long are left with a difficult downhill putt.
For those that choose to lay-up, they risk their ball rolling off the green and back down to the fairway.
If weather continues to look bad, expect the ninth hole to become one of the more difficult holes on the course.
Hole 10 – Camellia – Par 4 – 495 yards
The 10th hole has been living up to its reputation as one of the tougher holes on the course.
Playing as the third most difficult hole on the day so far, only seven birdies have been recorded on Camellia, and of those seven, five have come from the 12 players at -3 or better. Another was from Graham McDowell, who is at -2 with 10 others, and the other from Brandt Snedeker, who is at +6.
The mighty Camellia has been responsible for 25 bogeys and three double bogeys.
The length of this par four could create even more problems if the skies become more upset as the afternoon goes on.
Expect players to switch to a long iron off the tee, leaving them another mid-ranged iron to the green. The players who accept the difficulty of this hole and lay up will find themselves moving up the leader board.
Currently averaging a 4.4 score, expect this hole to come into play on the weekend. There is good reason to believe that this challenge will make or break some contestants ome Sunday.
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