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Tiger and Others Stalking DiMarco in Augusta

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For those waiting for Chris DiMarco to fall from his perch at the top of the Masters leaderboard, youll have to pine a little longer.
 
DiMarco overcame a shaky start to record a 3-under-par 69. The 32-year-old Masters rookie stands at 10-under-par entering the final 36 holes in Augusta, Ga., two shots clear of his nearest competitors.
 
Thursday, DiMarco wore green in tribute to his Masters debut. Friday, he wore red; and once again it proved appropriate because there are plenty of sharks in the water.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Chris DiMarco talks about his second round lead
 
The top two ranked players in the world, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, are tied for second at 8-under. Five others are just three back, including former World No. 1 David Duval and two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen (70).
 
Woods birdied three of his final four holes in the second round for a 6-under-par 66. Tiger carded eight birdies and two bogeys on the day to finish with a 36-hole total of 8-under 136.
 
Tigers first two rounds of 70-66 are identical to his opening two rounds in his championship year of 1997.
 
Its not a bad thing, Woods said of the correlation between the two years. I did alright that year. Hopefully, Ill do it again.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Woods, Duval, Mickelson and others talk about Rd.2
 
However, four years ago, Woods led the event by three shots entering the weekend. This time, hes trailing by two.
 
DiMarco, who shot 65 to lead by one as the day began, overcame a bogey at the 1st to card a front-nine 1-under-par 35. He made the turn at 8-under, and picked up two more shots with birdies at the 12th and 15th holes.
 
DiMarco concluded his round with a pair of clutch par saves over his final two holes. At the par-4 17th, he got up and down from the greenside bunker. He then hit his tee shot on the par-4 18th into the left fairway bunker, the same one Sandy Lyle played from and made birdie to win the 1988 Masters.
 
Unlike the Englishman, DiMarco clipped the lip of the bunker and came up well short of the green. However, he pitched to 10 feet and converted the par save.
 
That putt on 18 was big. It was huge for my confidence, he said. You can pinch me if you want. It feels like a dream.
 
DiMarcos excitement is heightened by the fact that hell play the third round alongside Woods.
 
What a story, playing with the best player in the world on the best course in the world, DiMarco said.
 
Once again, there were plenty of red numbers on the leaderboard.
 
Duval and Toshi Izawa, who lost in a six-man playoff in this years Nissan Open, each shot 66 to climbed to 7-under-par for the tournament.
 
Mark Calcavecchia did the same to move into a tie for ninth at 6-under. Also on that number is two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal. The 35-year-old Spaniard carded a 4-under-par 68 in an effort to add another title to the ones he captured in 1994 and 1999.
 
I have a lot of good memories around this course, said Olazabal. That makes it even more special.
 
Duval has several lasting memories at Augusta; hes finished in the top-6 each of the past three years. However, hes still yet to collect that elusive first major.
 
Friday, Duval bogeyed the par-5 15th for the second round in a row, but he regrouped with birdies on the 16th and 18th holes to shoot a back-nine 32.
 
I think I know how to win around here as well as anyone. Granted I havent done itbut Im looking forward to doing it this weekend, said Duval, who is playing competitively for the first time in five weeks due to tendinitis in his right wrist.
 
Mickelson is also anxious to get the major monkey off his back. The left-hander recorded a 3-under-par 69, but it wasnt without peaks and valleys.
 
Mickelson bogeyed the par-5 2nd, only to birdie four holes on the front nine to make the turn at 8-under for the tournament.
 
Following another bogey at the 10th, Mickelson hit his tee shot on the par-3 12th onto the front of the green, where it trickled down into Raes Creek. He eventually notched a double bogey 5.
 
However, in typical Mickelson fashion, he birdied three of his next four holes to finish the day at 8-under.
 
Defending champion Vijay Singh is still in contention to become the first player since Nick Faldo in 1990 to successfully defend his title. Singh shot a second-round 71 to enter the weekend six off the lead at 4-under-par.
 
Not everyone left the course satisfied on Friday. Greg Norman endured another Masters mishap by shooting a 10-over-par 82 in the second round. The three-time Masters runner-up, who began the day at 1-under, recorded 10 bogeys, including eight in a ten-hole stretch.
 
Norman entered the event with high expectations, and even higher semblance. Fifteen years ago, a 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus defeated Norman for his sixth Green Jacket.
 
Therefore, it only seemed appropriate that at age 46, Norman would contend in 2001. Such was not the case. The Shark posted only one eagle and one birdie over 36 holes.
 
One word ' ugly, said Norman in describing his performance. Nothing you can do; just move onto next week.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Norman, Nicklaus and Garcia talk about missing the cut
 
Most everyone else will focus on the present; where Woods may not yet be leading, but is commanding most the attention.
 
Tigers march to winning his fourth consecutive major began with four birdies over his first eight holes. Despite a bogey at the 9th, Woods birdied both par-5s on the back nine to move to 7-under for the tournament.
 
A second bogey occurred at the par-3 16th, but once again Woods rallied by sinking a pair of birdie putts over each of his final two holes.
 
I felt like anything in the 60s was going to be great, said Woods, who took 28 putts in the second round. The golf course is only going to get tougher over the weekend.
 
In 1997, Woods ran way with the event over the weekend with rounds of 65-69. He finished the event at 18-under-par, 12 strokes clear of his nearest competitor.
 
In the four years since, Woods has added four more majors to his resume and 40 more pounds to his frame.
 
But if youre wondering ' and the Masters committee may be ' Tigers jacket size is still the same.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
*47 players made the cut, which fell at 1-over-par 145. It tied the lowest cutline in Masters history (1979, 1992, 1995).
 
*None of the five amateurs in the field made the cut. James Driscoll started the day at 4-under, but shot 78 to miss the cut by one shot. The 23-year-old was even par through 16 holes in his second round, but double bogeyed the 17th to finish the event at 2-over.
 
*Sergio Garcia (76) bogeyed the 18th to miss the cut by a shot. Thomas Bjorn (76) doubled the 18th to also miss the cut be a single stroke.
 
*Six past Masters champions made the cut, while 16 missed it. Jack Nicklaus, 61, Gary Player, 65, and Arnold Palmer, 71, all missed the cut. Nicklaus and Player each shot 71 in the first round, but shot 75 and 76, respectively, in the second round. Palmer shot 82-76.
 
*Chris Perry twisted his knee on the 1st hole in the second round. He carded a pair of 7s to start his day, but hobbled to a 2-over-par 74. He stands in a tie for 20th place at 2-under.
 
*Chris DiMarcos 10-under-par 134 score through 36 holes is a new tournament record for a first-time player. Mark Lye set the record with a 9-under-par 135 in 1984.
 
Full Coverage of the 2001 Masters Tournament