5 Share Masters Lead, Tiger 1 Back

Major champions Brooks Koepka, Jason Day of Australia, Francesco Molinari of Italy, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Adam Scott of Australia are tied for the lead midway through the 83rd Masters, but much of the focus is on a player right behind them—Tiger Woods.

The 43-year-Woods, who has won 14 major titles including the Masters four times, missed a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have tied the others for the lead.

Still, he shot 4-under-par 68 and is one stroke back in a tie for sixth with Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State and Justin Harding of South Africa at Augusta National Golf Club www.augusta.com in Augusta, Ga.

“I have been in the mix in the last three majors,” said Woods, who came back last year after four back surgeries and has not won one of the Grand Slam events since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

“It was fun today, but I feel like I left a few shots out there. Overall it was a very solid round. I left the ball below the hole and that’s still the key here. I just kept on grinding. … I’m right there again. I feels good to be back in contention in a major championship.”

Oosthuizen carded a 66, while seventh-ranked Molinari and Day both totaled 67, Scott came home in 68 and fourth-ranked Koepka, who shared the first-round lead, finished at 71 to tie the others at 7-under 137 through 36 holes.

Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, eagled the 15th hole and could have held the solo lead but he made his only bogey at No. 16.

“I struck the ball really well today,” said Scott, the only Aussie to win the Masters. “I would have liked to have had a hot putter, but hopefully that will happen on the weekend. It was nice to knock that one in for eagle.”

Said Molinari: “I missed the greens in the right spots, and my short game and putting were very good. I was confident that I could get up and down. I kept making the putts.”

Tenth-ranked Schauffele posted a 65 that was the low score of the round, while second-ranked Johnson had a 70 and Harding wound up at 68.

Eighth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain birdied the second and third holes before reeling off 15 straight pars for a 70 and is two shots back in a tie for 10th with Ian Poulter of England, who came in with a 71.

Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, 48, who can become the oldest major champion in history by winning, is tied for 12th after a 73, while sixth-ranked DeChambeau struggled to 75 after sharing the first-round lead at 66 and is in a tie for 16th that includes fifth-ranked Justin Thomas, who had a 68, and ninth-ranked Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, who shot 71.

Defending champion Patrick Reed rallied from an opening 73 with a 70 and is in a tie for 29th that includes 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who had a 68, and low amateur Viktor Hovland of Norway, who totaled 71.

Third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who can complete the Career Grand Slam with a victory, is tied for 36th after a 71, while top-ranked Justin Rose of England followed an opening 73 with a 73 and missed the cut by one stroke.

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

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