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Scott and Day keep Australian hopes high at Augusta

Jason Day acknowledges the crowd as he walks from the 18th after his round of 67 (Photo: Getty Images)
Jason Day and Adam Scott are part of a five-way tie for the lead at the halfway stage of the 2019 Masters, their respective scores of 67 and 68 paving the way for them being part of what promises to be yet another gripping weekend at the Masters.

Nine players are separated by just one shot and 22 players are within five shots of the lead and given the amazing number of opportunities and dangers Augusta National presents then each and every one of those players, along with perhaps a few more, feel they are still well and truly a factor to take the title.

As had been the case in round one it took Scott a while to get things moving today, reeling off seven straight pars before holing a 7-foot birdie putt at the 8th had him moving in the right direction.

Then followed birdies from 10 feet at the 12th, another from 5 feet after laying up at the 13th, before arguably the shot of the day when his 2-iron approach at the par five 15th finished 4 feet from the hole which he would then convert for eagle.

Scott would three-putt the 16th and missed very good birdie opportunities at both the 17th and 18th but at 7 under he is right where he wants to be and given the quality of his shot-making at present then a second Green Jacket is a realistic prospect.

Scott’s second shot to the 15th came after a dangerous weather delay of 40 minutes or so and he was considering the option of laying up at the par 5 but a 2 iron never left the flag and finished 4 feet from the hole.

“We got the perfect number and it was a nice way to come back out and then knock it in for eagle,” said Scott.

“It is a great position to be in," added Scott when he was made aware if he wasn’t already that he had never led the event in any round previously other than when he won in 2013.

"It is a bunched leader-board and keeping pace was the main thing today. You never know women might separate over the weekend and I am in a good position to run with them.”

Day played early on day two and gone were any signs of the drama caused by his pre-round injury on Thursday.

“I was warming up on the putting green yesterday and saw my family so bent down to give my little girl a kiss and my back went out so that wasn’t the greatest start to this Masters.

“This golf course has plenty of sidehill, downhill and uphill and it was hard to walk uphill for me and put weight on my left side. I've had a lot of icing and anti-inflammatory and saw my chiro last night – I’ve been through a back injury before so I kind of know the protocol.”

Day got things moving forward when he a delightful pitch and run across the 2nd green to set up a birdie and followed with another at the demanding par 4 5th.

“That hole is playing like a par 5 in fact I hit a 3 wood then a 4 iron and as we walked off Dustin Johnson turned and said to me ‘good eagle’,” added Day with a smile.

He got up and down for birdie at the 8th and although unable to save par from the front bunker at the 12th after finding an awkward lie there he was able to birdie 13, 15 and 16th to get to 7 under.

After his round, Day was expecting his early score to not hold up but was hopeful to be well placed.

“I just think the back side - if the weather stays the way it is – there is no wind and it is hot so the ball is flying a long way so fingers crossed I have a tied the lead at the end of the day but I don’t think it is going to happen.”

As it turned out his score was good enough to share the lead with Scott, Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen all five major champions as are two of the four players just one shot back namely Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.

Australia’s two other players in the field Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman are at even par and seven shots from the lead, two late birdies from Smith ensuring he played the weekend and still within one good round of yet another good Masters finish.

After a bogey at the very gettable par 5 2nd hole, Leishman ground out another round of even par 72 although a poor drive at the last led to a bogey that could yet make quite a difference by Sunday evening as even those at par or better still feel they have a chance of making a run over the final 36 holes.

The 2019 Masters remains wide open with so many great storylines amongst the leading contenders as it stands, two of those Australians on whom many hopes are hanging for a second Green Jacket to be heading down-under.      




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