What a difference a day can make.
Day 2 of the 2014 Masters featured more near-flawless conditions for golfers, as sunny skies and minimal winds provided plenty of scoring opportunities.
Then again, this is Augusta National, and despite the perfect weather, this course remains one of the nation's most difficult. Navigating Amen Corner, keeping away from Rae's Creek and reading the subtle nuances of Augusta's slick greens are treacherous feats.
On Friday, a handful of golfers made it through the tournament's 36-hole mark after providing some inspiring performances. Others, however, were sent packing early due to some drastic results.
Here's a look at the current leaderboard through two rounds of action:
|2014 Masters Day 2 Leaderboard and Notables|
The complete leaderboard can be found at Masters.com.
It sure does look quite different from the day before.
How impressive was Bubba Watson on Friday?
After beginning Day 2 on a bit of a shaky stretch—he bogeyed three of the last six holes on the front nine—Watson rebounded in a big way.
He went on an impressive back-nine streak, which included five consecutive birdies on holes 12 through 16.
Watson stuffed his tee shot on 12 to set himself up for an easy birdie putt. He just barely missed a slick eagle putt on 13 to secure another easy birdie. On 14, he hit one of the most impressive putts of the tournament, sinking a long, hooking roll from near the back of the green.
A great up and down on 15 marked another birdie for Watson. Finally, after nearly acing the par-three 16th, he tapped in for birdie and his streak was complete.
This fantastic run propelled him to a score of 68 on the day.
During an interview with Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel after his round, Watson spoke of his recent play, according to Sobel's tweet:
With momentum on his side, Watson looks to be a huge threat entering the weekend.
It appears as though shooting a 68 on Friday was necessary to sit near the top of the leaderboard.
Both John Senden and Thomas Bjorn recorded this number alongside Watson. It's no surprise all three players are currently holding the tournament's top three positions.
The steady Jim Furyk notched the fourth 68 of the day. After shooting a two-over 74 on Thursday, he's now right in the mix at two under par heading into the weekend.
Masters first-timer Jonas Blixt also sits nicely at three under par after following Thursday's 70 with a 71 on Friday. This kind of consistency goes a long way at Augusta.
Defending champion Adam Scott enters the weekend at three under par after a roller-coaster round on Friday.
Scott was solid Thursday, recording a 69 with only one blemish—a double bogey on the par-three 12th—on his scorecard. Friday was very different for the Aussie.
He began with three bogeys in his first five holes, instantly dropping him back to level par for the tournament. Scott surged on the back nine, recording three birdies within four holes to finish the day with a 72 and head into Saturday well in contention.
Watch out for Fred Couples. He has a knack of doing well at Augusta—no matter his current age or health. He's now score a pair of 71s and sits just five strokes off the pace.
It was not a good day for first-round leader Bill Haas.
After a stunning 68 on Thursday, he followed it up with a 78 on Day 2. A back-nine 41 signified a major collapse, as he now sits at two over par for the tournament.
Rory McIlroy just barely made the cut and will play on the weekend. He started strong, scoring a 71 on Thursday, but fell apart on Friday with a 77.
Unfortunately, other notable names will not be around on Saturday.
Phil Mickelson followed up his first-round 76 with a 73 on Friday. He finished at five over par, just missing the cut by a single stroke. Mickelson attempted a late-round surge, recording birdies on holes 14, 15 and 17, but fell just short in the end.
Other notable names that will not be seeing any weekend action are Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, Charl Schwartzel, Harris English, Zach Johnson and Angel Cabrera.
Augusta National really separated the field on Friday, as fewer players were able to score in the red. Expect this trend to continue, as weekend pin placements and course conditions will only continue to increase in difficulty.
Each of the players who made the cut are all still well in the mix going forward. We've seen players stumble and we've seen players surge in many major tournaments before. The 2014 Masters shouldn't be any different.
Hang on to your hats—a wild finish is certainly in store.
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