Scotty Scheffler showed why he's the new world No. 1. On Friday, Georgia time, he made seven birdies at Augusta, offsetting two bogeys at the start of the tournament, to shoot a 67 and surge to the top of the 86th U.S. Masters leaderboard, and not only that, but a five-shot lead heading into the weekend.
Scottie Scheffler made his US Tour debut at the WM Phoenix Open just two months ago, but after winning his most recent tournament, the World Championship-Dell Technologies Match Play, he jumped to No. 1 in the world and became one of the few world No. 1s without a major title.
He got off to a poor start today, with two bogeys and a birdie on the first three holes. On the first hole he missed the green, sliced to 8 feet and missed the bogey putt. On the third hole, he three-putted from 47 feet and lost another shot. But he made no more mistakes after that, making birdies on the seventh and eighth holes to turn in a 35.
On the back nine, he continued to score. on 12, he made a 12-foot birdie putt, and on 13, he made an all-putt for a 4-footer. on 15, another par-5, he made another all-putt, slicing to 9 feet for birdie from 39 yards out, and drove to 7 feet for his second birdie in a row on the par-3 16th. Scottie Scheffler's two-round score of 136 (69-67) was 8-under par.
A total of five players could replace Scottie Scheffler at No. 1 in the world this week if they win the U.S. Masters. But Scottie Scheffler, who put on the green jacket and won his first major, will leave all the players behind.
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama made four birdies and swallowed one bogey to shoot a 69 and storm up with another former champion, Charl Schwartzel (69), tied for second place with first-round leader Ren Seong-Jae (74) and former British Open champion Shane Lowry (68) at 141. 3 under par.
No one has been able to defend his title at Augusta since Woods won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002.
Speaking of Woods, who is back from injury, he passed the first test, despite a rather poor start. He bounced back from four bogeys on the first five holes to shoot 74 for a two-round score of 145 (71-74), one over par and tied for 19th place. It was Woods' 22nd consecutive advancement in 24 appearances at the U.S. Masters.
Other key players: Players Championship winner Cameron Smith, 74, joined Dustin Johnson, who shot 73, in a large group tied for sixth place with a two-round score of 2-under-par 142.
Justin Thomas bounced back from an opening-round 76 to shoot a 67 and surge into a tie for 10th place in the large group. That group included Colin Morikawa (70).
Joan Rahm 74-72 and McIlroy 73-73 are tied for 23rd place.
Jordan Spieth 74-76 and Bryson DeChambeau 76-80 suffered eliminations.