Re-ranking potential Masters winners: With the top 11 separated by 2 strokes, who holds the edge after 36 holes?



Golf


AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 12: Francesco Molinari of Italy plays his shot from the 18th tee during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 12: Francesco Molinari of Italy plays his shot from the 18th tee during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


AUGUSTA, Ga. — A record-setting five golfers tied for the 36-hole lead at the Masters. A total of 11 — mostly the world’s finest — are within two strokes of the lead. That means it’s time for a re-ranking of the potential Green Jacket winners here before they tee off Saturday afternoon.

In reverse order:

11. Justin Harding (-6)

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 12: Justin Harding of South Africa reacts on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 12: Justin Harding of South Africa reacts on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

With no disrespect to the former Lamar University golfer, seven wins on the Sunshine Tour don’t quite provide the same kind of resume his competitors bring to this fight. Having said that, Harding has thrown out a pair of 69’s and been unflappable so far.

10. Louis Oosthuizen (-7)

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 12: Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa plays a shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 12: Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa plays a shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It has been nine years since his major win at the British although he lost the playoff here to Bubba Watson in 2012. Has not had a top-10 finish at the Masters since then. A long shot in this group.

9. Ian Poulter (-5)

Ian Poulter hits from the 14th tee during the second round of the Masters Tournament on Friday, April 12, 2019, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)


Curtis Compton/TNS

Ian Poulter hits from the 14th tee during the second round of the Masters Tournament on Friday, April 12, 2019, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

If this were a Ryder Cup, you’d probably bump him up to about No. 3, but last year’s Houston Open stands as his only stroke-play victory in a U.S. tournament. It’s hard to win your first major at 43.

8. Xander Schauffele (-6)

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 12: Xander Schauffele of the United States plays a shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 12: Xander Schauffele of the United States plays a shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Looked like a candidate to miss the cut when he was 2 over par after a first-hole bogey Friday. Tossed in eight birdies to put himself in contention. He is loading up in top-10 major finishes very early in his career.

7. Jon Rahm (-5)

Jon Rahm, of Spain, hits on the third hole during the second round for the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 12, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


Matt Slocum/AP

Jon Rahm, of Spain, hits on the third hole during the second round for the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 12, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Late in Friday’s round, one broadcaster said, “Jon Rahm just not in a good place right now.” He was 5 under and two shots off the lead where he remains. You always feel he’s about to blow a gasket (and sometimes he does), but he made remarkable pars to hold it together and remain in the hunt in the second round.

6. Adam Scott (-7)

Adam Scott watches his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Masters Tournament on Friday, April 12, 2019, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)


Curtis Compton/TNS

Adam Scott watches his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Masters Tournament on Friday, April 12, 2019, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

One of only two men in this elite group with a Green Jacket, so feel free to rank him a bit higher. He’s four under on the back nine par-fives already.

5. Dustin Johnson (-6)

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 12: Dustin Johnson of the United States lines up a putt on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 12: Dustin Johnson of the United States lines up a putt on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The No. 2 player in the world is a shot off the lead and yet there isn’t much of a sense here that he’s about to win his first Masters. Maybe that sense is wrong. Feels surprising that he has never shot 10 under par at Augusta.

4. Jason Day (-7)

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 12: Jason Day of Australia acknowledges patrons on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 12: Jason Day of Australia acknowledges patrons on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Some years have passed since he finished second and third here (2011, 2013) but even though he nearly withdrew with back issues, he looked as comfortable as ever on Friday. Just settling down and not swinging from the heels on each shot may have had a calming effect.

3. Tiger Woods (-6)

Spectators react as Tiger Woods birdies No. 6 during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 12, 2019, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)


Curtis Compton/AP

Spectators react as Tiger Woods birdies No. 6 during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 12, 2019, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

We can call him the other 43-year-old playing with Poulter Saturday. Obviously made an unbelievable birdie through the trees at 14 Friday before being clipped by a reckless security guard. Last year he led the British Open on Sunday and finished second to Brooks Koepka at the PGA, so it’s crazy to think he’s not going to grab a 15th major in the near future. Fans will go wild if it happens here.

2. Brooks Koepka (-7)

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 12: Brooks Koepka of the United States lines up a putt on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 12: Brooks Koepka of the United States lines up a putt on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The man has won three of the last seven majors and is tied for the lead in this one. Why pick against him? He will learn from his mistake made Friday (don’t hit it left on No. 2 where he made double bogey) and will continue to split fairways and go for flags here.

1. Francesco Molinari (-7)

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 12: Francesco Molinari of Italy plays a shot on the 13th hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 12: Francesco Molinari of Italy plays a shot on the 13th hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

He won the British Open, he was the best player in Europe’s overwhelming victory in the Ryder Cup and clearly wants to establish himself as one of the finest golfers in the world. Has not made a bogey since the 11th hole Thursday, a 25-hole streak of consistency that will serve him well this weekend.

Twitter: @TimCowlishaw

Original Source: https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/other-sports/golf/2019/04/13/re-ranking-potential-masters-winners-record-setting-5-golfers-tied-36-hole-lead-holds-edge

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