Spieth leads McIlroy by 1 heading into weekend


A major showdown is in store this weekend at Augusta National. Here's how things look at the halfway point of the Masters, where defending champ Jordan Spieth holds a one-shot lead over Rory McIlroy:

Leaderboard: Jordan Spieth (-4), Rory McIlroy (-3), Danny Lee (-2), Scott Piercy (-2), Brandt Snedeker (-1), Hideki Matsuyama (-1), Soren Kjeldsen (-1), Sergio Garcia (Even), Bryson DeChambeau (a) (Even)

What it means: Spieth began the day with a two-shot lead, and after a quick start he grew that advantage to five shots. But the course bit nearly the entire field amid swirling winds Friday, and Spieth was not immune. The defending champ had a four-putt on No. 5 and played his final three holes 2 over for a 2-over 74. It was his first over-par score in 10 rounds at the Masters. Spieth will be joined by McIlroy in Saturday's final pairing.

Round of the day: This marked the first time since 2007 that no one broke 70 at Augusta National, and it meant that McIlroy's 1-under 71 was one of the day's best. McIlroy was 2 over on his round through 12 holes but birdied three of six coming home to get within one of Spieth as he looks to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam.

Jordan Spieth's round in under three minutes:



Best of the rest: After a 1-under 71, Dustin Johnson is once again in contention at a major. Johnson finished T-6 here a year ago and made four birdies against three bogeys during the second round. At even-par 144, he's only four shots back heading into the weekend, chasing the man who edged him at Chambers Bay last summer.

Biggest disappointment: Phil Mickelson was in red figures and very much in contention midway through his round - and then the wheels fell off. Mickelson made double bogeys on Nos. 7, 15 and 16 en route to a 7-over 79, his highest ever score at Augusta National. It also left him one shot outside the cut line, meaning he'll sit out the weekend for just the third time in 24 Masters starts.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Spieth and McIlroy in the final pairing. What more needs to be said? Spieth has tied a tournament record by leading after six straight rounds, but he'll now have to fend off a potent challenge from the Ulsterman, who desperately covets a green jacket. It's the first time the two have been paired on the weekend at a major, and it should create plenty of fireworks.

Shot of the day: After finding the bunker with his approach to No. 18, Spieth splashed out to about 15 feet. The subsequent par putt found the bottom of the hole, ensuring that he would remain the outright leader for the second straight day.

Quote of the day: "I'd rather play with someone less threatening, to be honest." - Spieth on his afternoon pairing with McIlroy