Phil's Thoughts after 36 holes at Augusta

Through 36 holes I’m not sure we’re any the wiser who will don the green jacket on Sunday night. We won’t have a repeat Champion due to Sergio’s misfortune or miscalculation at 15 in Rd 1. Evidence this course presents a very fine line between putting for 3 or 13.

No chance baby Garcia #2 is being called Firethorn!!

The cut fell at +5 and at the start of yesterday’s opening rd the only player I thought would still be here for the weekend and isn’t is Sergio. He’s still required in Butler cabin so technically he’ll still be around on Sunday anyway.

The ceremonial tee shots by Messrs Nicklaus and Player are still as popular as ever. The crowds this yr seemed to be far greater than the previous few tournaments lining the opening hole to watch these legends rip one out there 240yds. And don’t think they’re no longer competitive...There’s some ego and bragging rights at stake!

Tiger and Phil have tee times tomorrow but only just. Each have had their moments over the first two days but are in desperate need of some of 09’ magic to get back into this thing. With the way Lefty struggled off the tee and similarly Tiger with his iron game I’m not holding my breath. Great for the patrons though to see them as part of the morning pairings tomorrow.

Familiar faces like Rickie, Rosey, Rory, DJ, JT, Jordan, Bubba, Louie and are all within range heading into Sat and I’m certain at least 4 or 5 of them will be there on Sunday afternoon. To be honest based upon his record here I’m surprised Henrik has played nicely so far. Maybe he’s benefited from poor experiences in the past and his putter has finally figured out the breaks on these greens.

A great story is Tony Finau after the ankle debacle on Wednesday. He has the goods if he can back himself. Also amazing to see the former champions and old foxes like Vijay, Freddy & Langer making it to the weekend.

But with big names looming it will be two non-major winners heading out in the final pairing tomorrow.

Marc Leishman has had a couple of close calls both here in 13’ when he marked Adam Scott’s card and at the Open in 15’ where he dipped out to Zach Johnson in a 3 man playoff. He’s seen up close what it takes to go to the next level and the second shot he played on 15 today was just that. But he’ll need more shots of that caliber or at least with that level of commitment and courage to pull it off.

Patrick Reed on the other hand lacks no shortage of confidence and is a bloody handy front runner. Augusta favours those out in front after the half way mark as it tends burn or more to the point, drown those that start firing at pins they shouldn’t. With 8 major champs among his 13 nearest pursuers all he’ll need to bring some game to get it done. He’s birdied all if the par fives and has 22 one- putt holes so more of that might do it. This will be his first ever sleep at a major with the solo lead where and he only possesses one previous top 10 in the big ones. That came last August when Justin Thomas was the only player the between Reed and the Wanamaker Trophy.

The course has been firm, fiery and fierce under blue skies the last couple of days. That’s due to change with heavy rain, potential storms and gusty winds forecast for Sat. “Moving day” may well turn into “ Surviving day”!

Although the course will be softened gusty and swirling winds around Amen Corner will require all potential contenders avoiding the “big mistake” that costs them a genuine shot on a Sunday.

Packing the brolly for tomorrow.

Cheers Phil

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