Golf: A five under round of 67 has shot Rickie Fowler into a four way share of the lead at the US Masters.
After two rounds of the 2017 Masters Australia has four men who made the cut and will play through the weekend.
Adam Scott leads the way after a second round 69 left him even par and within four shots of the lead, while Marc Leishman continued his steady form to lie three shots further back.
It was a closer call for Jason Day, who struggled to back up a solid first round under the stress of his mother’s recent illness, and Australia’s top ranked amateur, Curtis Luck, for whom a first taste of Augusta has been understandably testing.
Both men ended the day on six over par, the minimum requirement to play on in the competition. A standard Rod Pampling battled to reach but couldn’t quite make to prolong his playing time this year.
THE NEWBIE: CURTIS LUCK
Luck said he felt sick for two holes after hitting a patron at Augusta “square in the forehead” on the opening day.
But that ill feeling soon turned to elation as the young West Australian amateur made the Masters cut at his first attempt, with a visit to Butler Cabin on Sunday now in his sights.
“When I got up there he was bleeding, and it wasn’t very nice, “Luck said.
“I felt like I was going to vomit for two holes after it, I felt horrific. This is one sport … potentially if you get hit some seriously bad things can come.
“It wasn’t nice. All I could do was say sorry.”
Luck will now have his father off his back after some advice post his opening 78 suggested he “pull his finger out” because the family didn’t go all the way to Georgia to go home early.
He endured a nervous few hours after an 18th hole bogey left him at six-over, and he wasn’t going to even look at a leaderboard in that time.
But with the pressure released he said he would go out and enjoy Augusta before he turns professional next week and sets about earning a return trip.
“There’s no pressure at all for the last two days. It might give me a pass to go at a few more flags and fun ultimately because I’m not out here trying to make money.
“This is by far the biggest crowd I have played in and it’s tough in these conditions. It’s another good experience just playing this type of golf.
“But more than anything getting on the first tee, getting that first tee shot away is great experience because there are going to be a lot more events like this in the near future.
Only one other amateur made the cut, American Stuart Hagstead, who will start the third round three shots in front of Luck.
THE VETERAN: ROD PAMPLING
Pampling was blown out of the Masters with a second round 78 that left him two shots adrift of the cut-line at what he hopes isn’t his last time around the majestic layout.
At 47 the Queenslander knows getting back could be hard and was disappointed conditions played such a part in his play.
But having brought his family, and even his mum, to soak up the Augusta atmosphere he was still able to walk away happy he got to have one more go around after a decade of watching from afar.
“At 47 you hope to be back again, but realistically probably not. It’s definitely disappointing because all the lead up work was done in beautiful conditions and then we got dealt this. But no-one can control that, yet,” Pampling said.
“You want to play well, I enjoy the golf course, it was just really difficult. It’s not over though, we could still get back here.”
But just in case he doesn’t, Pampling spent plenty of time in the pro shop picking up enough swag to last, maybe the rest of his life, knowing full well Augusta is the only place you can get our hands on it.
“That’s an expensive pro shop, but we did our fair share of shopping. I think we have all had a fair bit of fun,” he said.
“The only thing I missed out on was the weekend, but I may have to spectate. It’s just an amazing place, and amazing week, it was great to be back.”
THE CONTENDER: ADAM SCOTT
Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, nailed seven birdies in a round of ball striking that the Queenslander believed he had coming, made even better by the shot-by-shot battle with the strong April winds.
He was third in greens for regulation through the opening two rounds but ranked 63rd overall in putting, making only half his putts from 1.5m to 3m. Scott said nailing more of those could be the difference between winning and losing another Augusta title.
“When I won in 2013 I don’t think I missed a putt inside six feet for the week,” Scott said post his second round.
“And I’m going to have to kind of have that weekend here, if I really want to win.
“I mean, they all count the same, but it feels like those ones that you don’t want to let slip. And if I can sharpen that up a little, which I have every belief I will, if it’s just a little calmer generally out on the golf course. It’s pretty hectic out there with the wind.
“It would be nice if we get a little calmer conditions on the weekend, just because it’s too hard playing this golf course like this four days in a row.”
Scott said he knows how good a weekend can be at the Masters, especially when you are in contention and just thinking about it brought a smile to his face.
Golf: Branden Grace pulls off an unbelievable shot for the only eagle this week on the 15th at the US Masters.
And he knows if the wind goes away his putting woes may too because it was big blows, not bad reads, that were doing his head in.
“Most putts are outside the hole and you’re aiming them outside the hole, it’s meant to break left and the wind is blowing left to right, it’s very hard to commit and hit,” he said.
“And I felt like I committed on a lot of them and I just got them wrong. I didn’t always hit poor putts, it’s just very difficult.
“I think that it will get easier if that wind settles down and all the good stuff how I’ve been putting really well will fall back into place.”
Originally published as ‘I felt like I was going to vomit’