Indian-Americans Bhatia, Theegala ensure weekend action, Woods sets cuts record at Augusta

Augusta, Apr 13 (PTI) Indian-Americans Akshay Bhatia and Sahith Theegala handled the tough and windy conditions on the second day to make the 36-hole cut at the 88th Augusta Masters here.

Bhatia, 22, who won the Valero Texas Open last week, shot (72-75) to be T-30, while Theegala (74-74) was T-35, despite a triple bogey after the second round.

“The wind, the swirling winds was tough. Certainly, there’s not a lot of options to hit it close. It’s a pretty tough stretch from 10, 11, 12, and I haven’t taken advantage of the par-5s really,” said Bhatia, who is playing his first Masters.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler held on in strong winds for an even par 72 that included three birdies and three bogeys.

Scheffler, who won the Masters in 2022, shared the lead with overnight leader Bryson DeChambeau (65-73) and Max Homa (67-71) at 6-under 138.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, made more Masters history by making the cut for a record 24th consecutive time after carding a 72 to sit on 1-over. He is just seven shot behind the leaders on T-22.

Before the tournament, Woods jointly held the record for most consecutive cuts at tournaments played with Fred Couples and Gary Player on 23.

“I’m here. I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” said the 82-time PGA TOUR winner and five-time Masters champion.

“I don’t think anyone is going to run off and hide right now, but it’s really bunched. The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course today.” On the physical challenge, he added, “Yeah, I’m tired. I’ve been out for a while, competing, grinding. It’s been 23 holes, a long day.But I really did some good fighting today, and we’ve got a chance.” Nicolai Hojgaard (67-73) was fourth at 4-under, while Cam Davis (69-72) and Collin Morikawa (71-70) after a long time came into contention in a Major, and they were T-5th.

Ludvig Aberg was the only one to shoot under 70 with a 69 and he was 2-under after two rounds in seventh spot.

Korea’s Byeong Hun An was hanging on to dear life and anything that he could, including his cap, on another wind-swept day.

He carded a battling one-over 73 after a 70 on the first day to be five shot behind the leaders.

Another tricky day saw winds blowing from between 24 to 32kmph, with gusts of up to 56kmph. Only eight players returned under par scores, while eight others shot 80 or worse, including reigning FedExCup champion Viktor Hovland, who carded an 81 to be amongst the high-profile names to miss the halfway cut set at 6-over.

Matsuyama (74) and Tom Kim (78) and Si Woo Kim (76), made the 36-hole cut right on the number while Masters debutant Ryo Hisatsune (78) and Sungjae Im of Korea (74) failed to advance into the weekend.

Scheffler summed up the day’s conditions saying, “For me mostly it was just trying to manage my way around the golf course, and that’s pretty much it. Just trying to make as many pars as you could and trying to leave it in the right spots.

“But it’s just so difficult when you can’t tell where the wind is coming from. You can only make really an educated guess and try to go from there. For the most part, I think we did a pretty good job today.” Rory McIlroy, seeking to complete a Grand Slam by winning the Masters – he has won the other three Majors – did not have a single birdie, but had a double bogey and three bogeys in his 77 and at 4-over he was T-35.

Defending champion Jon Rahm produced a gritty finish with birdies on 15-16 and hung into T-44th place and make the cut.

The big names missing the cut included the reigning Open champion, Brian Harman (81-72), the 2015 Masters winner Jordan Spieth (79-74), Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland and Dustin Johnson, the 2020 Masters winner.

Source: PTI News


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