Sunday 21 October 2018

McIlroy seeks advantage as Spieth suffers sorry start to Masters second round

Spieth held a two-shot overnight lead after an opening 66, but saw that disappear with a double bogey on the first.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

By Phil Casey, Press Association Sport Golf Correspondent

Rory McIlroy was among the players trying to take advantage as overnight leader Jordan Spieth suffered a nightmare start to the second round of the 82nd Masters.

Spieth held a two-shot overnight lead after an opening 66, but saw that disappear with a double bogey on the first after driving into the trees to the right of the fairway.

Another errant tee shot on the par-five second and a three-putt from long range added up to a second consecutive six and left Spieth a shot behind fellow American Matt Kuchar.

McIlroy’s round got off to a poor start when he three-putted the first, but the Northern Irishman holed from 30 feet for birdie on the second and just three feet for another on the third.

That briefly gave him a share of the lead with Kuchar, but he was unable to save par from the back of the fourth green and dropped back to three under alongside Spieth.

The omens could hardly have been better for McIlroy as he looked to strengthen his bid for the career grand slam, the 28-year-old breaking 70 in the first round at Augusta National for just the second time.

That left McIlroy in a tie for fourth and the last four times he was in the top five after the first round of a major he went on to win it, the former world number one claiming the 2011 US Open, the US PGA Championship in 2012 and 2014 and the 2014 Open Championship.

The biggest stumbling block between McIlroy joining Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in winning all four majors appeared to be Spieth, whose opening 66 means he has amazingly led or shared the lead after nine of his 17 rounds at Augusta.

Spieth led after the third round in 2014, from start to finish in 2015 and for 54 holes in defence of his title, although he did then blow a five-shot lead with nine holes to play as Danny Willett took full advantage with a closing 67.

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport