Masters players cope with another windy day at Augusta National
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Augusta National is showing its teeth at this year’s Masters, with a little help from Mother Nature.
Rain on the eve of the tournament softened the greens, but the golf course has been anything but receptive for the world’s best players.
A few course tweaks and some gusty winds made things difficult Friday.
Saturday promises more of the same.
Play in Saturday’s third round started cloudy, cool and breezy conditions, and News 12 First Alert Meteorologist Chris Still says it will be another very windy day around the CSRA.
Winds will be from the west sustained at 15 to 20 mph, with 25 to 30 mph gusts likely, according to Still.
High temperatures will be nearly 20 degrees below average for this time of year.
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The winds were a big topic for players who spoke after competing on Friday.
“It was a challenge today,” Patrick Reed said Friday. “You had the wind pumping, and it was gusty and kind of swirling, and I think that’s what makes this place so difficult is when it starts gusting. It’s one thing if it stays consistent blowing 10, 15, 20. If it’s just constant blow, that’s fine. When you start getting areas where like 12, for example, today.”
A day after the field played the par-72 course in an average of 73.8, players were averaging 75.2 with about half the field still on the course. The leader in the clubhouse, Charl Schwartzel, was just 3 under, while the cut was projected at 4-over-par.
Schwartzel said just making par is an achievement in these types of conditions.
“Par is a great score. I think if you shoot level par around here in these conditions, you are playing good golf,” Schwartzel said.
The toughest hole was the par-4 11th, which was lengthened after last year’s tournament and played at 520 yards in the second round. Players were averaging 4.64 on the hole. The 18th was also playing tough as the second most difficult hole at 4.47 shots.
The easiest hole in the second round was the par-5 second, where the field made three eagles and 37 birdies and played to an average of 4.57.
The high winds caused problems for players who said the big problem was the gusts.
“With the conditions the way they are, you can’t hit it good enough to not need your short game, and that part of my game has been good this week,” Dustin Johnson said. “Yeah, hopefully can keep hitting it well and not have to get myself in too many of those crazy spots, but short game does feel good.”
Collin Morikawa echoed those sentiments.
“The wind is not making it easy,” he said. “It’s a lot of guessing, a lot of just trusting what you are going to do, but it’s weird. Yesterday I probably felt the most comfortable I’ve ever felt at Augusta National, which is, obviously, nice. Today just kind of kept fighting and posted a nice round.”
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