The Masters: Ancer, Smith and Thomas capitalise on Johnson's wobble

By Sports Desk November 13, 2020

Dustin Johnson managed to maintain a share of the Masters lead as he recovered from successive bogies, while Rory McIlroy responded to a frustrating opening 75 with a superb second round.

After finishing his first round with 65 early on day two, world number one Johnson was back out swiftly at Augusta National, and struck three birdies in his first four holes to move to nine under.

However, consecutive bogies on the 14th and 15th -– his fifth and sixth – set the 36-year-old back.

Cameron Smith and Masters debutant Abraham Ancer capitalised, with respective efforts of 68 and 67 to nose themselves ahead, while Justin Thomas joined them with a three-under 69.

Thomas made it a three-way share of the lead by following a precise iron onto the ninth green with a clinical putt for a birdie. 

Yet Johnson rallied on his back nine, keeping his composure to maintain par throughout before a four-foot birdie on the 18th ensured a four-way tie for the lead.

While Johnson was flying early on Friday, McIlroy's first round was a dismal one, but the Northern Irishman bit back with a flawless 66 – including five birdies – to put himself in a great position to make the cut at three under. 

WILLETT FINDS HIS RHYTHM

Patrick Cantlay is in tied-second on eight under, ahead of British trio Danny Willett, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose. Dylan Frittelli followed an opening 65 with 73, though at six-under he is well in contention heading into the weekend.

Willett has made the cut for the first time since winning the Masters, with his 66 his best round at Augusta, while Fleetwood matched the 2016 champion with a 15-foot putt on the 18th.

"Things felt pretty good coming into the week," Willett told Sky Sports. "Nice memories, you get nice vibes. The course is obviously playing very different to what we know it can play like.

"The scoring will continue to get really good as the day goes on. The weather's perfect, the greens are as good as they can be.

"Me, Patrick Reed and Jordan [Spieth] are the only champions under 40. It's still surreal, still an amazing place to come to. An incredibly special place."

NIGHTMARE STARTS FOR WOODS AND DECHAMBEAU

Bryson DeChambeau's bullish build-up seems to have backfired. He labelled Augusta a par 67, yet he found himself two over five holes into his second round.

After birdieing his second, DeChambeau endured a miserable time on the third, losing his ball before chipping beyond the hole and down the slope, taking a further two shots to find the pin.

That moved the U.S. Open champion back to level par, and more frustration followed with successive bogeys, though he pulled a shot back on the sixth.

Looking to build on a solid 72 from day one, Tiger Woods found the hole in four on the par-five second, having been inches away from converting a chip for eagle.

Yet the five-time champion missed a simple putt on the next hole, dropping his first shot of the week from around 15 feet.

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