Masters 2018: Patrick Reed two ahead at halfway stage

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Patrick Reed two ahead at halfway stage at Augusta
2018 Masters
Venue: Augusta National Dates: 5-8 April
Coverage: Watch highlights of the first two days before live and uninterrupted coverage of the weekend's action on BBC Two and up to four live streams online. Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. Read live text commentary, analysis and social media on the BBC Sport website and the sport app. Full details
Masters second-round leaderboard
-9 P Reed (US); -7 M Leishman (Aus); -5 H Stenson (Swe); -4 R McIlroy (NI), J Spieth (US); -3 D Johnson (US), J Thomas (US)
Selected others: -2 J Rose (Eng), R Fowler (US), B Watson (US); -1 J Rahm (Spa); level T Fleetwood (Eng); +1 V Singh (Fij); +2 F Couples (US); +4 T Woods (US); +5 I Poulter (Eng), T Hatton (Eng), P Mickelson (US), M Fitzpatrick (Eng), P Casey (Eng); +6 S Lyle (Sco), JM Olazabal (Spa); +7 D Willett (Eng); +8 R Fisher (Eng); +11 I Woosnam (Wal); +15 S Garcia (Spa); +22 H Ellis (Eng)

American Patrick Reed posted a six-under-par 66 to take a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Masters.

World number 24 Reed made nine birdies to end nine under, ahead of Australian Marc Leishman who signed for a 67.

First-round leader Jordan Spieth, the 2015 winner, returned a 74 and is five adrift alongside Rory McIlroy (71).

Tiger Woods will play the weekend after finishing four over, one inside the cut mark, but defending champion Sergio Garcia closed a distant 15 over.

Reed, joint second at last year's US PGA Championship but with a highest of tied for 22nd in four previous Masters appearances, birdied his first three holes and had two more runs of three successive birdies to reach 10 under.

A bogey stopped each birdie run and his first three-putt of the tournament, at the 16th, dropped him to nine under. However, he has had only 51 putts in his first two rounds, with 22 one-putt greens.

"I was really steady throughout the entire day and got myself in a position where I could attack the pin positions," said Reed.

"You have to give yourself opportunities and then I let my putter do the work. I've been working really hard on my putting speed, the biggest thing has been getting the speed down, and letting the ball hit the hole. My speed been really solid."

Bernd Weisberger

Play was slow again despite more fair weather on day two, with Austria's Bernd Wiesberger tweeting his displeasure at taking five hours 40 minutes for his three-ball to finish their 18 holes. Reed, playing with Adam Hadwin and Charley Hoffman in the final group of the day, needed five hours 43 minutes to complete his round.

A total of 17 players are under par going into Saturday, when the weather is predicted to change dramatically to heavy rain and blustery winds.

In the past 20 Masters, 19 winners have been in the top 10 at the 36-hole stage. Only South Africa's Charl Schwartzel - who was tied 12th in 2011 - has come from further back to win.

Favourites lie in wait

A number of pre-tournament favourites are gathering behind Reed and Leishman, who also birdied the first three and made a superb eagle at the 15th when his approach rolled to within six feet.

Former Open champion Henrik Stenson, who celebrated his 42nd birthday in round one, is four shots back in third after five birdies in a 70.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy mixed four birdies with three dropped shots in round two

McIlroy started the day on three under but immediately dropped a shot with a three-putt. He then birdied the next two to briefly share the lead.

The world number seven made consecutive birdies on each nine but saw makeable birdie putts on the closing two greens slip by.

"I'm a little frustrated I'm not, say, seven under, but anything under par was pretty good," the 28-year-old said.

"The wind is not up that much, but it's enough to make it really tricky and the pin positions were tough, so it's hard to get it close."

American Spieth, the most recent of five players to win the Masters having led after all four rounds, opened with two sixes to drop three shots and fall back into the pack.

Another shot went on the seventh as he was unable to make a birdie on the front nine for the first time in his Masters career. He had to wait until the picturesque par-five 13th for his first birdie of the day. Another followed on the 15th as he posted a two-over 74 to stay in contention.

"I got a little brain dead, but to still be in the tournament after two rounds is nice," he said. "Not being in the lead could bode well for me. I'm going to have to drive the ball better tomorrow if it's going to be windy and rainy."

The last world number one to win at Augusta was Woods in 2002 but Dustin Johnson improved his chances, with an an eagle and three birdies in a 68 to reach three under.

US PGA Championship winner and world number two Justin Thomas is also three under after six birdies, saving par at the last with a superbly judged chip which he sent beyond the flag and allowed to trickle back down inches from the cup.

Woods & Mickelson survive into weekend

Four-time winner Woods made a double bogey at the fifth when his second shot disappeared into the magnolias beyond the green and he was on the cut line at five over when he found Rae's Creek for the second day in succession at the short 12th.

But having failed to birdie any of the par fives in round one, he made fours at both of the long holes on the back nine.

Tiger Woods on day two at the Masters
Woods has made five birdies in the first two rounds

The 42-year-old world number 103, who had back fusion surgery last year, is playing his first Masters since 2015, having missed the cut in the final three majors of that year.

He three-putted the par-three 16th but parred his way in for a round of 75.

"I need a lot of help [to win the Masters]," he said. "I need to shoot something mid-60s both days but I'm so far back I'm not in control of my own destiny.

"It's incredible to be able to play golf again. Six months ago I didn't know if I would ever play golf again. Here we are and I'm staying for the weekend at at the Masters. It's pretty good although I'm a long way back."

Three-time winner Phil Mickelson was only one off the lead when his drive found the pine straw under the trees at the uphill par-four ninth.

His attempted escape struck a tree and ricocheted into an unplayable lie, resulting in a triple bogey.

Having dropped another shot at the 11th, when an ambitious flop shot for once failed to produce the intended result, he double bogeyed the short 12th after his tee shot rolled back down into Rae's Creek and he returned a 79 to finish five over.

Mixed fortunes for British players

Justin Rose, runner-up twice in the past three years, had three birdies on each nine in a 70 which lifted him to two under.

Tommy Fleetwood, playing alongside Woods, drove the green at the par-four third for a second successive birdie and returned a second successive 72 to sit nine off the lead at level par.

Fellow Englishmen Ian Poulter, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Paul Casey all made the cut on the number at five over.

Poulter, 42, who won in Houston last week to secure his place in the event, double-bogeyed the 11th before mixing three birdies with three bogeys over the final six holes for a 75.

World number 17 Hatton also posted a 75, dropping shots on the 16th and 17th holes.

Casey, who held off Reed and Woods to win the Valspar Championship last month, dropped four shots in five holes from the ninth in a 75.

Britain's first Masters champion, 60-year-old Scot Sandy Lyle, slipped to nine over before three birdies in four holes in a round of 76 that left him at six over, but missed out making a first cut since 2014 by a solitary shot.

Danny Willett, the 2016 champion, missed the cut for the second year in succession after six bogeys in a 76 left him at seven over, while Ross Fisher and Welsh veteran Ian Woosnam also failed to qualify.

Amateur Championship winner Harry Ellis, the 22-year-old from Southampton, finished 22 over, pitching superbly to four feet at the last for a closing birdie and a round of 80.

Early exits

Missed cuts as defending champion

Spaniard Garcia, following his opening round of 81, duly missed the cut after a round of 78 and his 159 total was the highest by a defending champion.

Following his 13 on the 15th on day one in which he saw five approach shots trickle into the water surrounding the green, he hit his ball safely over the lake and through the green in round two, before rolling in a birdie at the last.

World number 15 Alex Noren, third in last month's WGC Match Play, made two double bogeys on the back nine in a 79 to finish on nine over.

Ryder Cup player Thomas Pieters also posted two double bogeys in a 78 for a seven over total.

Other former champions to miss out on the weekend were Charl Schwartzel (+6), Jose Maria Olazabal (+6), Trevor Immelman (+9), Mike Weir (+11), Larry Mize (+12), Angel Cabrera (+15) and Mark O'Meara (+15).

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