Day 2 of the 2014 Masters Tournament is underway as defending champion Adam Scott and a deep field look to pick up a career-defining victory at Augusta National Golf Club.
With beautiful weather on tap for the second straight day, Friday's second-round action is sure to produce significant changes atop the leaderboard.
Below, we'll update you on the latest scores from Augusta and get you set for this weekend's action with some tournament predictions.
Adam Scott Will Continue to Shine
2013 Masters champion Adam Scott played a brilliant round on Thursday, recording five birdies and committing just one costly error: a double bogey on the 12th hole.
The 33-year-old Aussie and tournament favorite will tee off shortly before 2 p.m. ET on Friday, when he'll look to build on his Round 1 momentum and pick up steam heading into the weekend.
ESPN Stats & Info points out an interesting fact:
Adam Scott has never held a lead after any round at the Masters. But he does have one Masters win -- last year.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 11, 2014
But while many golfers will fade over the course of Friday's second round, don't expect Scott to be one of them. After all, having already won here in the past and exorcised his major demons, Scott's focus is unlikely to waver.
On Thursday evening, Scott talked about his strong first round and the importance of getting the jitters out of the way early, per Masters.com's Paul Rogers:
I was very happy with the way I played today tee to green. It was really how you hope to come out and play at any major, and especially the Masters. I was really solid.
The first few holes of the Masters is the most nervous I ever get on a golf course. We’ve been waiting eight months to play a major, and then to get here – everything about the place – it’s hard to calm down.
With Scott settled in and right in the mix after one round, it's hard not to like his chances of becoming the first repeat winner at Augusta since Tiger Woods in 2002.
Phil Mickelson Will Claw Back into Contention
If there's one place where Phil Mickelson seems to play his best golf year after year, it's Augusta National. Coming into this year's Masters, Lefty has recorded top-10 finishes at 12 of his past 15 appearances at Augusta, including three wins since 2004.
Following a tough first round, the 43-year-old begins Day 2 four strokes over par and several shots off the lead.
But watch for Mickelson to turn things around on Friday and Saturday in order to put himself into contention for Sunday's final round. After all, despite shooting a triple bogey and double bogey on Thursday, Mickelson was pleased with how he hit the ball, according to Golf.com's Coleman McDowell:
There were possibilities. I know it’s hard to say that, but I played well. I didn’t hit anything unsolid; I hit it solid. I just threw away several shots out there.
Since 2000, even years at the Masters have been good to Mickelson. His three victories here came in 2004, 2006 and 2010. But he finished in the top seven in 2000, 2002, 2008 and 2012.
A top-10 finish at the Masters in 2014 would be the 15th of Mickelson's career.
Rory McIlroy Will Fade
Two-time major winner Rory McIlroy is still searching for his first green jacket. But surprisingly, the 24-year-old former world No. 1 hasn't even come close to winning at Augusta.
Will Rory McIlroy record his first top-10 Masters finish in 2014?
McIlroy's best finish at the Masters came in 2011, when he tied for 15th. He finished tied for 25th here a year ago and missed the cut back in 2010. Therefore, his strong start on Thursday is hardly enough to suggest he'll be in the mix come Sunday.
McIlroy was consistent during the first round, birdieing two par fours on the front nine and both par fives on the back nine. Unfortunately, a bogey on the 18th hole forced him to head into the clubhouse at just one under, three shots off the pace of Day 1 leader Bill Haas.
Although it seems McIlroy will eventually break through at Augusta National, a course that suits his game, don't expect 2014 to be the year.
Following Thursday's opening round, McIlroy talked about how the dry, faster greens present a "mental challenge," according to The Guardian's Andy Bull. And McIlroy admits that he's struggled in those situations in the past.
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