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. 


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."


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.

Related items

  • Taylor pushes ahead at halfway mark of Sony Open in Hawaii Taylor pushes ahead at halfway mark of Sony Open in Hawaii

    Nick Taylor climbed into a two-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the Sony Open in Hawaii after carding an eight-under 62 on Friday.

    The Canadian kick-started his second round with an eagle at the 18th hole – his ninth – before getting to 12 under at Waialae Country Club.

    Taylor was one under through eight holes in his round before chipping in for the eagle, and he picked up another five shots on the back nine.

    A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Taylor is two shots clear of Stewart Cink (63), Webb Simpson (65), Russell Henley (64), Vaughn Taylor (66) and Chris Kirk (65).

    Henley is a former champion of the event, lifting the trophy in 2013, while Kirk was runner-up a year later.

    On what is a congested leaderboard, another eight players are just a shot further back.

    Joaquin Niemann (69) and Peter Malnati (69), who shared the overnight lead with Jason Kokrak (71), are among them, alongside Charley Hoffman (65), Collin Morikawa (65), Marc Leishman (65), Hideki Matsuyama (65), Billy Horschel (66) and Brendan Steele (66).

    Steele was runner-up last year and is again well-placed to contend after posting rounds of 65 and 66.

    Horschel, meanwhile, is the only player in the field bogey-free through 36 holes. It is the third time in his PGA Tour career he has been bogey-free through two rounds.

    Defending champion Cameron Smith carded a four-under 66 to sit at seven under – in a tie for 19th in a group that includes Kokrak.

  • Niemann continues good form to share lead at Sony Open in Hawaii Niemann continues good form to share lead at Sony Open in Hawaii

    Joaquin Niemann is part of a three-way tie for the lead after the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

    The Chilean carded an eight-under 62 at the Waialae Country Club on Thursday to lead alongside Peter Malnati and Jason Kokrak.

    Coming off a play-off loss to Harris English at the Tournament of Champions, Niemann's fine start to 2021 continued.

    The 22-year-old made seven birdies, a bogey and an eagle, the latter coming with a chip in at the 18th.

    Kokrak produced a bogey-free opening round, while Malnati mixed nine birdies with one bogey.

    At the 17th, Kokrak almost produced a hole-in-one, only to see his shot lip out as he was forced to settle for a birdie.

    Vaughn Taylor, Jim Herman, Aaron Baddeley, Patton Kizzire, Daniel Berger and Kim Si-woo are two shots adrift of the leaders.

    The champion in 2018, Kizzire made a 45-foot eagle putt from off the green at the ninth, while Baddeley – runner-up in 2003 – is also in contention.

    A group of 13 players are at five under, including last year's runner-up Brendan Steele, 2014 runner-up Chris Kirk and 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

    Defending champion Cameron Smith opened with a three-under 67 to be in a tie for 40th.

  • Tiger Woods and Masters stars set to see small Augusta crowds Tiger Woods and Masters stars set to see small Augusta crowds

    Golf superstars including Tiger Woods and defending champion Dustin Johnson are set to play in front of "limited" crowds at the Masters, it was announced on Tuesday.

    Last year's tournament was delayed from April to November because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were no spectators allowed for that edition of the major at Augusta National.

    That is set to change in 2021, says organisers, who are preparing to welcome a small number of Augusta's 'patrons' to watch the action unfold.

    Full attendance was ruled out given the continuing need for social distancing, and those allowed entry must adhere to strict health protocols.

    Augusta National club chairman Fred Ridley said: “Following the successful conduct of the Masters tournament last November with only essential personnel, we are confident in our ability to responsibly invite a limited number of patrons to Augusta National in April.

    "As with the November Masters, we will implement practices and policies that will protect the health and safety of everyone in attendance.

    "Nothing is, or will be, more important than the well-being of all involved. While we are disappointed that we will be unable to accommodate a full complement of patrons this year, we will continue our efforts to ensure that all who purchased tickets from Augusta National will have access in 2022, provided conditions improve."

    The Masters is scheduled to take place at its Georgia home from April 8 to 11, with Johnson looking to follow up the stunning 20-under-par performance that saw him win a first green jacket.

    That was a record score for a champion in the tournament's history and came a year after former world number one Woods landed his 15th major title when he triumphed at the Masters for a fifth time.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.