The Masters Halfway Thru

Is shaping up to be a very entertaining tournament.  No one should be surprised by Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter being on the top of the leaderboard.  The Englishmen are both top level golfers that have been close in majors and are most definitely good enough to win a major.  Westwood especially has been very close in the past.  I can’t imagine why anyone would be surprised that Tiger is in the hunt.  I would not have been surprised if he had a shaky week due to rust or unusual forms of stress from recent events, but that he is playing well on a course he knows so well frankly should shock exactly no one.  Same goes for Phil Mickelson; he has not played his best the past year or so for the most part he he always does well at Augusta (Top 10 all but one of the past 11 years).  Quite obviously it would be no surprise to see he or Tiger win another.  The person that could fly right under the radar is KJ Choi.  While a notch below the other players I have discussed so far he too is a very good player that always seems to do well at Augusta.  For that matter the talent is there for Anthony Kim but I think his game is still a bit raw to win a major; I can see him being a guy that is firmly in contention back 9 Sunday but finds the water somewhere at an inopportune time.  And of course YE Yang is just one more shot back at -5 trying to kindle talk of a “Yang Slam”.

I would’ve almost been willing to say that least years Open was the last time you would see Tom Watson in contention.  Oops.  He backed up a bit today and is 5 shots back; the safe assumption is he’ll fade over the weekend.  But he’s playing solid and obviously knows the layout.  I can’t picture him winning but a Top 10 would not be shocking.  Ditto for Fred Couples.  If he can have a hot stretch to really get into contention it could be fun to listen to his college roommate Jim Nantz try and fail to contain himself.

Like I said it should be a compelling weekend.  Saturday is known as Moving Day; the key for some guys will be to avoid moving back out of it.  I’m sure a couple guys will move forward with a 68 or so, but usually the Saturday pin placements are not ultra-accessible.  Expect it to be back right on the upper shelf on 16 and 13 for example.  Sunday is when the real magic usually happens.

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