English pair lead the way at Augusta

Two English players have set the pace at this year’s Masters. Both are seeking their first major win and neither have held the lead or co-lead after any round of a major.

Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter finished round 2 at eight under, two shots clear of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, KJ Choi, Ricky Barnes and Anthony Kim, with YE Yang a further shot back.

Yesterday, easy pins and calm conditions meant that we saw veterens Fred Couples (50) and Tom Watson (60) at the top of the leaderboard.

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‘Today’s golf course was very different from yesterday”, commented Tiger Woods. Trickier pin placements, longer tees, faster greens and stronger winds made scoring conditions a lot tougher.

Today required a lot more patience and shot making, and that’s exactly what we saw from Westwood (world number 4) who picked up 4 shots (with an eagle on the 2nd) in his first 7 holes. Had it not been for an eratic drive on the 14th and a resulting double bogey, he would have surely held the two round lead on his own.

westwood

“It was a grinding day, danger lurks everywhere and you have to keep your wits about you,” said Westwood.

Westwood has had his fair share of near misses in majors, finishing third in both the Open Championshipand USPGA last year. Consistently one of the best players in Europe, he certainly has the game to win.

He said, “Obviously it would mean a lot to win a major championship. I’ve come close over the last couple of years, three third-place finishes and I know I’ve got the game and I know I’ve got the temperament. It’s just going that one step further and finishing.”

The ever-confident Poulter (world number 7), who by winning the World Matchplay Championship has won already on US soil this year, says that his second round was one of the best he’s played in a while. His second sucessive 68 has given him a great chance of his maiden major victory.

poulty

“To be playing Augusta was in my dreams, and to be sitting at the top of the leaderboards was in my dreams, as well. So hopefully we can have a good weekend and be in a similar situation come Sunday night.”

The last Brit to win a major was Paul Lawrie in 1999, who capitalized on Jean Van de Velde’s collapse at Carnoustie. With such an abundance of talent in the British Isles, it has been a long eleven years. Both Poulter and Westwood have the experience and game to win a major, and being friends it might help that they are paired together on Saturday.

With so many great players within a few shots of the lead, it is set up for a fantastic weekend of golf. Who knows which Augusta we get tomorrow, but if Tiger is still on the leaderboard come tomorrow evening, there’s a very strong chance of him picking up major number 15 and have the press talking about his golf instead of his personal life.

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David MacKenzie

is a golf coach and golf publisher and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind a teaching program designed to help golfers eliminate negative mental interference and play with confidence.

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