Masters 2018: McIlroy coping with Augusta's unique pressures

Sergio Garcia is dishing up traditional Spanish Lobster Rice for his main course

But this is my best start in a few years. "But it's incredible to have the opportunity again, to still come out here and play this golf course". If you start to chase it around here, that's when you start to make mistakes.

"I fought, " Ghim said. "Those three holes. Big for momentum".

Finau shot a 68 on Thursday and backed that up with a 74 on Friday and is at 2 under for the tournament.

"I feel relaxed. I feel good".

After dropping another shot at the 11th, when an ambitious flop shot for once failed the produce the intended result, he double bogeyed the short 12th after his tee shot rolled back down into Rae's Creek.

"What he did do was not let this tournament get completely away from him", said Golf Channel commentator Brandel Chamblee.

"I asked him several times and he wasn't wincing or complaining", Langer said. "By the end of the week, this will be a pretty packed leaderboard the way the golf course is set up". He plays well around here.

The poor round left Woods, competing in his first major since 2015, just one shot above the cut-line but a distant 13 shots back of world number 24 Reed, who is hoping to pen a comeback of his own after missing the cut previous year. I felt like if anything, my attitude was really good these first two days. "Forget playing at the Tour level, I didn't know if I'd ever be playing again", Woods said. And I fought hard to get it back in there, and I'm back in this championship.

If he keeps playing this well, the patrons won't be so quiet as he winds through the back nine on Sunday. He happened to be in a threesome with Tiger Woods, whose comeback from spinal fusion surgery led to a huge buildup for this Masters.

Both McIlroy and Spieth have suffered notable Masters meltdowns with a green jacket seemingly in their grasp, Spieth in 2016 when leading by five shots with nine holes remaining only to endure an Amen Corner horror show and squander the title won by England's Danny Willett.

Somehow, Tony Finau finds himself high up on the leaderboard.

Three times Masters victor Mickelson captured his day off to a bothersome start using a triple bogey at the opening hole followed by means of a bogey at the moment to collapse 18 pictures supporting fellow American Reed.

"If I can drive like I did today, feeling wise, and hit those shots, give myself a chance, and if I clean up my iron play, I'm hitting so many lovely putts right around the hole", Woods said.

Now, it will be interesting to see how the ankle reacts after walking 18 holes in a round that took more than five hours to complete.

"I feel relaxed. I feel good".

He'll have more chances on the weekend, when Augusta National figures to play long in wet conditions.

McIlroy, who is in search of his first Masters victory, backed up his 69 on Thursday with a hard-earned 1 under 71 on Friday.

The second round saw higher scores than the first, with the average score on Friday almost a full shot higher than the first day's play (from 73.793 to 74.563). It added to a 6-under 66 and a two-shot lead over Leishman going into the weekend at Augusta National. "I feel like I tactically play this golf course very well". "Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it didn't want to".

Phil Mickelson knows his clock is ticking, and that's what makes these past two days at the Masters so disappointing to him.

5 birdies to the flip in 31 laid the foundations for the Ryder Cup star, however he needed to preserve his momentum to maintain an impressed Leishman, who carded a 67, at bay.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Dustin Johnson (-3), Justin Thomas (-3), Rickie Fowler (-2), Bubba Watson (-2), Charley Hoffman (-2), Justin Rose (-2).

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