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Rory McIlroy nicely placed going into weekend

07 April 2018

Woods, back at the Masters after a two-year injury absence, started the day 13 adrift and made no headway with an even par 72.

Seventh-ranked McIlroy, in his fourth try at completing a career Grand Slam at the Masters, opened with a three-putt bogey, but made a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-5 second and four-foot birdie putt at the par-4 third.

He got off to a bad start, making a double bogey at the first hole and a bogey at the second, before dropping another shot with a bogey at No. 7.

Johnson, the 2016 US Open champion, has spent the past 59 weeks atop the world rankings since ending the reign of Australian Jason Day.

But he didn't, and his five iron sailed to within 2m of the pin to build some massive Masters momentum.

"We start with the premise that we are very blessed to have the resources to do that", Ridley said. "It's a major. You're going to have to take some chances at some point during the week if you want to win, and that was a time where I thought I had to take a chance".

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So was Marc Leishman, who played in the group with Woods and Tommy Fleetwood and led most of the day until a chip from behind the 15th green came out too strong and didn't stop rolling until it was headed down the bank and into the water, leading to double bogey.

Tiger Woods: My training has been good.

McIlroy handled the day as well as nearly anyone Friday, shooting a 1-under 71 that put him 4-under for the tournament and in fourth place, but he ended up 25 yards over the green on the 15 hole because of a tiny change in the wind during his shot.

And the former world number one wouldn't rule out his own weekend run.

"I feel like I don't have to swing my best to play my best golf, but if I can think the way I'm thinking right now and stay in that mindset, that's when I've been able to produce my best results". But it's incredible for have the opportunity again, to still come out here and play this golf course. I saw it firsthand, know what it takes.

WHY 135 ISN'T SO GREAT Through two rounds Patrick Reed is the only player in the field with a pair of rounds in the 60s, going 69-66 for a stellar 135 total and the 36-hole lead.

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But once doctors told him he could do no further damage, he was determined to play and was rewarded with a debut Masters round that included six birdies and two bogeys.

Jordan Spieth was content with his fightback in round two of the Masters after lamenting "two really bad drives" that threatened to undo all his fine work from the opening day. In 2011, Rory McIlroy maintained his lead through three rounds, but he shot a final round 80 to finish tied for 15th.

Even though the prospect of overturning the deficit seems insurmountable, Woods is refusing to wave the white flag just yet.

"So you see the guys on the front page [of the leaderboard] playing well and spreading themselves out a little bit, and then everyone else is going around one, two over".

Poulter was bordering on the cutline at 5 over after shooting 74-75 and said the course is playing a lot different Friday compared to Thursday. It doesn't really mean much to me.

Three-time victor Phil Mickelson dropped five shots in four holes en route to a 79 and at five over is in danger of missing the cut.

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The four-time Masters champion returned to the marquee event after missing the last two years with lingering back problems. The ball rattled around the Georgia pines at Augusta National and eventually fell beneath one on top of some pine straw.

Rory McIlroy nicely placed going into weekend