Day two of the 2014 Masters Tournament is in the books. If you thought the leaderboard situation couldn’t get any more interesting after Thursday, you couldn’t have been more wrong.
For all the talk leading into this week of Tiger Woods missing the tournament, an even more rare event will take place tomorrow, as Phil Mickelson was unable to work his way back to the proper side of the cut line. It’s the first time in 17 years that Lefty won’t be playing the weekend. What’s more, you have to go back to 1994 to find the last Masters that didn’t have either Woods or Mickelson making the cut. Of course, neither man played that year.
Really, it’s not so surprising that Phil missed the cut considering how his year has gone, but more the way he did it. Today, he shot a one-over round of 73 to miss the number by just a single stroke. But for the second straight day, he also posted an ugly triple bogey, going back and forth between the bunkers on the par-3 12th before mercifully carding a 6. Without those big numbers, Mickelson might even have been competitive this weekend.
At the top, Bubba Watson was the unquestioned star of the day, opening a three-stroke lead on the rest of the field. He was nearly invincible on the second nine, as he put together a wild string of five birdies through Amen Corner. Even though he closed with a bogey on the 18th, this should put the rest of the field on notice that Watson is fully prepared to make a run to yet another green jacket.
Once again, Watson has been masterful around the greens. When he overshot the 15th green, he showed incredible touch on the following chip, bumping the ball just to the edge of the green and letting Augusta’s speedy surfaces do the rest of the work. It was the type of shot you might dream up, but never actually pull off.
One of the day’s biggest dramas didn’t play out until the last groups. Rory McIlroy, a popular pick among many (including myself) nearly played himself out of the tournament. McIlroy was in great shape after posting a 71 on Thursday, but with two doubles and three bogeys, he had to scramble just to finish the day with five straight pars to make the cut on the number. While he lives to play another day, it looks like his green jacket aspirations will have to wait another year.
As always, keep checking in here to get all your Masters updates and analysis.