AUGUSTA, Georgia – Two days after rain delayed the Masters and softened the course at Augusta National Golf Club, the tournament starts around 10:30 am on his penultimate round East on Saturday
Tiger Woods, the defending champion, is looking for his sixth victory in Augusta. Other former winners, including Danny Willett and Phil Mickelson, will play their round in the hopes of competing all weekend.
And the weather in Augusta would be about as good as any golfer could hope for: sunny, with a maximum of around 70.
The kids are doing fine.
Look up and down the leaderboard and you will see names you have known, loved and / or reviled for a long time: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods.
But at the top of the tournament are plenty of players making their first appearances at the Masters, including Abraham Ancer, who is 29 years old and finished first at 9 under par. Sungjae Im, 22, is 8 below. Sebastián Muñoz turns 28 in January, but will go into the third round at 6 under.
Ancer, whose framed Masters invitation hangs in his living room, played Augusta National for the first time last week and found some of the terrain more challenging than it had appeared on television. He played 27 holes that day – good practice, it turned out, for Friday, when he had to go 25 after Thursday's rain delay.
"I didn't want to come here for the first time this week. And be really excited, you know," said Ancer, who shares the lead with Johnson, Thomas and Cameron Smith. "I wanted to feel like I was here and I've been here before, and it was more normal. "
History doesn't give new Masters players a big chance of winning: it happened three times, including in the first and second tournaments. The only player to achieve the feat after 1935 was Fuzzy Zoeller, who won in 1979.
The cut is yet to come.
The combination of Thursday's delay on weather and early November sunsets mean the cut, set at the lowest 50 scorers and draw this year, won't happen until the second round ends on Saturday morning.
Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa – the PGA of this year Championship winner – among those on d e bubble, while about half a dozen former Masters champions including Fred Couples, Sandy Lyle and José María Olazábal have been effectively done. Bernhard Langer, Patrick Reed and Adam Scott are some of the former winners who are ready to play on Saturday and Sunday.
Players select number 5.
No hole gave players more problems in 2019 than the one named Magnolia, which Augusta National had extended by 40 meters. This year, the men chasing a green jacket turn out to be much better at solving No. 5.
Last year there were 103 bogeys on the hole – four of them by Tiger Woods, who won the tournament anyway – and six double bogeys. The hole gave up only 13 birdies during the tournament, while no other on the course gave away less than 20.
For most of the two rounds this week, the field has managed 11 birdies, 37 bogeys and a double bogey, aided by experience and track conditions.
"Because that top layer is a lot softer this year, coming in here from a little bit further, and it can stick in that back part, makes green a hell of a lot bigger." Said Danny Willett , who won the Masters in 2016 and twice last year at number 5 before missing the cut.
This year Willett, who is 7 under, achieved par the first two rounds.
“Usually you come in there and just try to throw it over that slope and then hope it stays close to the back bunker,” he said on Friday, “but with softer this year, your only really bad miss is short, true. it will be a difficult putt. "