The Masters: Rose rallies to lead Spieth and Leishman by two shots

By Sports Desk April 09, 2021

Justin Rose mounted a back-nine recovery to finish his second round with a two-shot lead over Jordan Spieth and Marc Leishman.

Rose shot a sublime opening round of 65 at Augusta, but relinquished his four-shot advantage on Friday before returning to the top of the leaderboard with three birdies in his space of four holes.

The Englishman was the man to catch on seven under when he signed for a level-par 72, rallying after bogeying four of the first seven holes in his second round.

Gains at the 13th, 14th and 16th holes gave Rose momentum heading into the weekend as he bids to don the green jacket for the first time.

The in-form Spieth surged into a share of second place with Australian Leishman by carding a four-under 68, with birdies proving easier to come by for the field than on the opening day.

Three-time major champion Spieth, on a high after ending a title drought stretching back to 2017 at the Texas Open last weekend, made four of his five birdies after the turn and only dropped one shot at the 12th.

Leishman also made a significant move, setting the tone by starting with three birdies in row and going on to shoot a five-under 67.

Scintillating six-under rounds of 66 from Bernd Wiesberger and Tony Finau put them just three shots adrift of Rose along with Justin Thomas, who shot a 67.

Will Zalatoris, Brian Harman and Si Woo Kim were also well poised on four under, with their rounds still in progress. Defending champion Dustin Johnson had work to do back on three over through 10.

Bryson DeChambeau responded to a poor opening round with a 67 of his own to sit at one over, while Brooks Koepka (+5) and Rory McIlroy (+6) were facing a battle to make the cut 10 and eight holes into their rounds respectively.

Lee Westwood was a couple of shots below the projected cut mark on five over midway through his round.

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    Steve Stricker has ruled out captaining the United States for a second time after the record 19-9 Ryder Cup victory over Europe at Whistling Straits.

    The USA dominated Europe, winning by the biggest margin in the competition's history to regain the trophy on Sunday.

    It was a dream three days for Stricker in his home state of Wisconsin as his side showed why they were such strong favourites.

    The USA will travel to the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome for the 2023 event, but Stricker says they will have a different captain.

    Asked about retaining the role, he said: "I don't think it's going to happen. It's mapped out and there's guys in positions to be the next captains.

    "It was an unbelievable experience, don't get me wrong; I'm glad it's over."

    Stricker paid tribute to his "special" team after such a phenomenal performance.

    He said: "It was a special week all the way around. I don't know what else to say, and I've said it a number of times all week long and how these guys came together, and how they started two weeks ago when they showed up for the practice round.

    "I could see the camaraderie then. I could see the willingness to prepare and get ready for this event prior to us even arriving. So a lot of these guys have played a lot of golf with each other. They have up with each other. It's a special group of guys."

    He added: "It was just putting them out there in a position. The assistant captains and I talked a bunch with Tiger [Woods] on there, as well. And they're just so talented. Their average world ranking is 8.9. That's unheard of. Out of 12 guys.

    "So it was really just getting out of their way; what I feel like. Let them go. Provide an atmosphere and camaraderie that they enjoyed and wanted to be a part of. And they all want to win, and it showed and they prepared for it.

    "It was a great bunch of guys, and I really had a great time and they deserve it."

  • Ryder Cup: Europe dethroned in record manner but Harrington can't fault players Ryder Cup: Europe dethroned in record manner but Harrington can't fault players

    Europe captain Padraig Harrington was upbeat despite his team's record Ryder Cup loss to the United States, insisting the visitors could walk away from Whistling Straits with their heads held high.

    Harrington's Team Europe were no match for hosts USA, dethroned following a record-breaking 19-9 defeat in Wisconsin on Sunday.

    USA claimed the Ryder Cup by a record margin, surpassing the previous 18.5 - 9.5 victory at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.

    Europe were outclassed from the outset and Steve Stricker's USA sealed victory in just the fifth match of the scheduled 12 singles showdowns on the final day.

    Team Europe had won seven of the past nine editions of the biennial event but failed to recover from a six-shot disadvantage heading into the final day as USA reigned supreme and despite the heavy defeat, Harrington could not fault his players.

    "I was not aware of it until it became close," Harrington said of USA's record-winning margin. "And then I did actually have to ask. I was involved in the last two that were records [grimacing] but on the right side of it.

    "Look, somebody has to. That's the way it goes. This was a very strong US Team. Everybody here gave 100 per cent, and pulled together, everybody worked together this week. There's nobody walking away from this week, and I will talk to each player individually: Nobody didn't give their heart and soul to this team.

    "We don't owe anybody anything in that sense. They all tried. They all put it in. And you know, there will be more Ryder Cups ahead. Most of them – as I just said before, most of them have the best part of their career ahead of them, there's no doubt about that. So they shouldn't walk away from this in any shape or form feeling like, hey, they gave it 100 per cent. That's all you can ask from the players.

    "Did they do their job? Yes, they did. It didn't go right, but that happens in sport. Just remember, you know, if you want to have these glorious moments, you've got to put your head out there, and sometimes it doesn't go right. You get your head knocked off.

    "That's just the reality of sport. If you put yourself out there, you'll have some miserable days, but also, if you put yourself out there, you'll have those thrilling days when you win."

     

  • Ryder Cup: Stricker hails 'special' Team USA after record-breaking victory Ryder Cup: Stricker hails 'special' Team USA after record-breaking victory

    Steve Stricker lauded Team USA's "special group" after the United States captain oversaw a record-breaking 19-9 win over Europe.

    USA claimed the Ryder Cup by a record margin on Sunday, surpassing the previous 18.5 to 9.5 victory at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.

    Stricker's USA were dominant from the outset in Wisconsin, where the hosts sealed victory in just the fifth match of the scheduled 12 singles, having required just 3.5 points for glory.

    After hoisting the cup aloft in front of a passionate crowd at Whistling Straits, Stricker hailed his team.

    "It was a special week all the way around," Stricker told reporters. "I don't know what else to say, and I've said it a number of times all week long and how these guys came together, and how they started two weeks ago when they showed up for the practice round.

    "I could see the camaraderie then. I could see the willingness to prepare and get ready for this event prior to us even arriving. So a lot of these guys have played a lot of golf with each other. They have up with each other.

    "It's a special group of guys. It was fun to be part of it all this week, especially here in Wisconsin."

    Europe had won seven of the past nine editions of the biennial team event but failed to recover from a six-shot disadvantage heading into the final day as USA reigned supreme.

    Stricker added: "This didn't start just two weeks ago. This started months ago. For me, three years ago two, and a half years ago. It's been on my mind ever since I was announced to be captain two and a half years ago.

    "I wanted to make a special week for these guys. I've been part of a few teams, and I know how it can go. I've been on a losing team and I've been on a winning side, team, and we just want these guys to enjoy the experience. And as you can tell up here right now, it looks like they have enjoyed the experience."

    Dustin Johnson led a star-studded United States with a 5-0 record throughout the Ryder Cup and Stricker continued: "I could see it in these guys' eyes last night when we left here, the course, after just saying a couple words, I could tell they felt like there was unfinished business, and they came out and they were ready today.

    "They played great, and I could see it in their eye that they wanted it all. They wanted more."

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