Rahm lurks as delayed Masters second round resumes
April 8, 2023 06:43 PM
After a rainy night Georgia, the delayed second round of the 87th Masters got under way on Saturday with Spaniard Jon Rahm aiming to cut back the three-stroke advantage of early clubhouse leader Brooks Koepka.
Friday's play was cut short after stormy weather descended on Augusta National, with three of the course's trademark tall pine trees blowing over.
While organizers said that no spectators had been injured by the falling trees, the spectacular images will have injected some caution into tournament officials' plans for play during what is expected to be a wet and windy Saturday.
Temperatures have dropped sharply in the area, falling from 87 degrees F (30.5 C) in the bright sunshine of the opening round to 50 (10) for awaiting those returning to finish their second round.
While the rain, which continued during the night, will have further softened an already unusually forgiving course, those players who have completed their second round won't have to contend with any wind and rain until the third round, which is scheduled to begin later on Saturday.
Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa, who sits six strokes behind Koepka, is certainly glad to have his second-round work done.
"I think (Saturday) is going to be the worst, 51 high, really windy," he said.
"(It's going to) be a very tough weekend. These first two days have been some of the easiest I've seen Augusta play... in my four times here. There hasn't been wind.
"We've gotten pretty lucky, but Mother Nature is not going to give up come Saturday and Sunday."
Four-time major winner Koepka, who plays on the breakaway LIV Golf series, is the man to catch after an outstanding opening two rounds.
Koepka blitzed the par-5 holes for an eagle and three birdies in a bogey-free second round. His superb shotmaking followed an opening 65, his lowest Masters round, and left him on 12-under 132 for 36 holes, three strokes in front of Rahm.
World number three Rahm was among 39 players still on the course when three trees were toppled by gusty winds near the 17th tee and officials stopped play.
The Spaniard had made three birdies on the front nine and will be looking to close in on the lead as he targets a second major tournament victory following his 2021 US Open win.
Some big names face missing the cut when the second round is finally completed.
Rory McIlroy shot a five over-par 77 with seven bogeys on Friday leaving him 17 strokes behind pace-setter Brooks Koepka, and is facing his second missed Masters cut in three years.
Tiger Woods is right on the projected cutline at level for 50th, 2-over par overall with seven holes to complete.