Watson shoots 68, leads Masters by 3


Displaying a deft touch to go along with his length off the tee, Bubba Watson carved up the second nine Friday at Augusta National Golf Club to take a three-shot lead at the Masters. Here's how things look after two rounds of the season's first major, where Watson is halfway to his second green jacket in the last three years:

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-7), John Senden (-4), Adam Scott (-3), Jordan Spieth (-3), Thomas Bjorn (-3), Jonas Blixt (-3), Fred Couples (-2), Jimmy Walker (-2), Jim Furyk (-2)

What it means: Watson was the only player without a bogey in the opening round, and he made it through his first 26 holes this week before dropping a shot. The 2012 winner caught fire on his inward half, with five straight birdies from Nos. 12-16. As a result he has distanced himself from the pack at the halfway point, but thanks to a late rally the defending champ remains within reach - as does Spieth, who could become the youngest Masters winner ever.

Round of the day: Watson's opening 69 was just the second bogey-free round out of 81 career rounds in the majors, and he kept things rolling right along Friday. Watson's run of five straight birdies on the inward half included a lengthy bomb from the back of the green at No. 14 and concluded with a near-ace at the par-3 16th. Despite a closing bogey, Watson tied for the lowest score so far this week and is the only player with two rounds in the 60s.

Best of the rest: Senden and Bjorn share this honor, as both matched Watson's 4-under 68 to move firmly into contention. Bjorn was out early and began his round with two straight birdies, adding four more across his final five holes to cap off a stellar round. Senden opened with a bogey and was 2 over after four holes, but birdied three of his next four and had six total birdies on his round. After a poor drive at No. 18, the Aussie got up and down to save par and earn a spot in Saturday's final pairing.

Biggest disappointment: There is no shortage of big names missing the cut, but topping the list is Phil Mickelson, who at +5 took one shot too many and will sit out the weekend at Augusta National for the first time since 1997. Mickelson made a triple bogey for the second straight day, taking three whacks from the sand on the short par-3 12th en route to a 1-over 73 in Round 2. Honorable (dishonorable?) mention goes to Rory McIlroy, who fell back after a 77 but made the cut on the number, and Marc Leishman, who was 5 under and in sole possession of the lead through 21 holes, then played his final 15 holes in 10 over to miss the cut.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: This feels like Watson's tournament to lose, but the southpaw is only 1-for-8 when trying to close out 36-hole leads on the PGA Tour. The chase pack includes the timeless Couples, who is a factor at the halfway point for the fifth consecutive year, and Scott, who struggled over the first five holes but managed to salvage an even-par 72 to mirror the exact same scores he put up in the first two rounds last year en route to victory.

Shot of the day: Justin Rose jarred a 40-yard pitch shot from left of the eighth green for an unexpected eagle, a spark that lifted the reigning U.S. Open winner to a 2-under 70 in the second round. After stumbling out of the gates with a 76, Rose was one of the few big names to rally after a poor start and make it past the cut line.

Quote of the day: "This year I’m trying to get the jacket back. You’re not the man. You want that feeling again, you want that back.” - Watson