Masters 2014 Scores: Biggest Surprises from Day 2
The Masters is always filled with surprises. While Augusta is always in pristine shape and the beauty of the course is a given, the conditions often grow quite difficult as the sun hardens the greens and the winds pick up in the afternoon.
That's why the Masters is such a tough tournament to figure. Some of the biggest names have no clue how to beat the course, while some relative unknowns pick it up quickly.
The second round of the tournament continued with that pattern and there were quite a few unexpected results. Here's our look at the biggest surprises.
Danish Delight Climbs High
Thomas Bjorn overcame his ordinary start during the first day of the tournament to finish the second round in spectacular fashion.
The 43-year-old Danish native played solid golf through the first nine holes, but he really got his game in gear when he birdied four of the final five holes to key his 68. After registering a birdie on the 440-yard, par four 14th hole, Bjorn took his game to another level. He hit crisp shots on the closing holes and his putter was working superbly.
His two-round total of 141 places him four shots off the lead.
Bjorn told Sky Sports (h/t Golf Courier) that he feels very good about the state of his game. "I played really well today to be honest," Bjorn said. "I hit a lot of good shots and got myself in great positions on the golf course all the time, and holed a few more putts today than I did yesterday."
Bubba Is in Control
It's not a big surprise that Bubba Watson is sitting in the lead at the midway point of the Masters. He has won the green jacket at Augusta and is one of the most impressive hitters on the tour.
However, what makes this a surprise is the precision and the accuracy in Watson's game. He is normally a free swinger who will send one or two errant shots off-line in every round. Through the first two rounds, Watson's finesse has been as big a factor as his powerful driving. He backed up his opening round of 69 with a 68 in the second round, and he leads the Masters by three strokes.
His iron play has been sharp and well-defined, while his putting has been decisive and instinctive. Watson has just two bogeys through the first 36 holes at Augusta, and the ability to avoid big numbers on his scorecard is a big reason he has played so well.
In addition to avoiding mistakes, Watson reeled off five straight birdies between the 12th and 16th holes.
"You're so focused on what you are doing, you are not really thinking you have just had three in a row, four in a row," Watson told Sky Sports (h/t Golf Courier). "It's one of those things. Everyone has had that stretch before, playing with their buddies or playing in a tournament, so it's not that big a deal when we think about it. But at the Masters, it makes it a big deal."
Couples Has His Senior Moment
When Fred Couples fired a 71 in the first round of the Masters Thursday, it was an impressive feat for the 54-year-old, but it was not a surprise.
Couples understands what it takes to have an excellent first round at Augusta. In his previous four Masters, Couples had shot 68, 71, 72 and 66 in his opening rounds.
However, it's much more difficult to continue that play into the second round and beyond. While we're not ready to say that Couples will be a contender for the green jacket when play begins on Sunday, he has done everything he could have hoped through the first two rounds of the tournament.
He fired his second 71 in the second round, and his 36-hole total of 142 means that he is within five strokes of Watson.
Couples was especially sharp on the front nine, firing a two-under-par 34. He slowed down a bit on the back nine, as he finished with a one-over 37.
Couples told ESPN's Mike Tirico that he was playing precisely, but the key is to play with the same confidence during the rest of the tournament. "I need to keep it up in the third round," Couples said. "My scoring average on Saturday is 76. I have to find a way to make the putts tomorrow."
Senden Makes a Statement
Australian John Senden is usually a middle-of-the-pack golfer who ranks 59th in the world.
His name was not on the lips of those who like to predict winners—or even contenders—prior to the start of the Masters. After an even-par round of 72, Senden found his game by the time he got to the fifth hole of his second round.
He was two over as he teed it up on the 455-yard, par-four hole, and that's when he began to feel it. He had a birdie on that tough hole, and then added five more the rest of the round. What made that run even more impressive is that he did not have a single bogey after the fourth hole.
Senden put a 68 on the scorecard in the second round and is just three strokes behind Watson. Senden knows there's a lot of work to do, but the 43-year-old likes his chances.
"I feel good, so it is about getting out there tomorrow," Senden told Sky Sports (h/t Golf Courier). "Long way to go, just got to be patient, play my game and see what happens."
Down Goes Haas
Nobody expected Bill Haas to remain in the lead after he shot a brilliant 68 in the first round of the tournament, but it was a shock to see him blow up and shoot 78 in the second round.
Haas will start his moving-day round at two-over-par, nine strokes behind Watson.
Haas was actually in decent position through the first eight holes with an even-par round. However, that's when he lost it and his game fell apart. He bogeyed four of the next five holes, and the fifth hole in that streak turned out to be a double-bogey.
Haas was very sharp with his putter in the opening round, but that skill was not apparent in the second round. If he has any chance of getting back into contention, he must find a way to put his second-round disaster behind him.
Young Lion Spieth Starts to Roar
Jordan Spieth is one of the game's top young stars, and it's usually not a surprise when this 20-year-old finds himself in contention near the midway point of any tournament.
However, the Masters is not just any weekend get-together of the top professionals in the business. Augusta has been known to eat up youngsters and punish them severely. Somehow, that script did not get to Spieth. He followed his opening round of 71 with a two-under-par 70 and is just four strokes behind Watson.
Spieth asserted himself when he recorded an eagle three on the par-five 15th hole. Spieth recorded just the second eagle of the day on that hole, and he did not appear surprised when he drained that putt.
Spieth is as calm and self-assured as any young player could be, and that's a surprise considering the gravity of the Masters.
Cocky Reed Takes It on the Chin
Patrick Reed couldn't wait to get to Augusta. However, his first attempt to play the Masters was a shocking disappointment to the cocky 23-year-old.
Reed was not at his best when he shot a one-over-par 73 in the first round, but he was able to get his first taste of the tournament. He thought he would be able to improve off that showing in the second round, but it was not to be. Reed never was able to live up to his huge potential, shooting a 79 and failing to make the cut.
When he won earlier on the tour, Reed famously declared himself a top-five golfer in the world. His brash assessment did not go over well with his peers.
Watson got in a shot at Reed as he explained the ups and downs of his career.
“Learning to be a good dad, learning to be a better husband, it takes time on you, it takes energy,” Watson told Jay Coffin of the Golf Channel. “And then learning how to refocus, repractice, get back to the level that I think I should be at…top-25 player in the world. Not going to say top-five player in the world. Sorry, Patrick Reed.”
Reed is quickly learning that it's not about the words at the Masters, it's about the deeds. He's got a very long way to go.
Lefty Has Plenty of Company on the Cut List
When Tiger Woods shocked the golfing world with his announcement that his bad back would keep him from playing in the Masters, it seemed to open the tournament up to even more golfers than usual.
While Tiger has not won a major since 2008, there's always a feeling that the Masters is his domain. With Tiger on the sidelines, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia should have had a better chance.
However, the 2014 Masters has been somewhat shocking through the first 36 holes. Many of the biggest names on the tour didn't even make the cut.
In addition to the trio of Mickelson, Els and Garcia mentioned above, Luke Donald, Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley are among the game's stars who failed to make the cut.
Golf fans will not see those names over the weekend, and that's a huge surprise.