AUGUSTA, Ga.: Abraham Ancer, Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im had been rookies on the International group that misplaced the Presidents Cup to the United States.
Now, theyre in rivalry on the Masters.
Ancer and Smith had been amongst 4 gamers tied on Friday at 9-under par, whereas Im was in a bunch of 4 one stroke again. (Four dozen participant had been unable to complete the second spherical due to darkness.)
Weve all change into better of mates that week, and its good to see them guys proper up there, Smith stated after capturing 68 on the heels of an opening-round 67. We had been giving one another fisties on the again there, so it was good.”
Ancer, who’s from Mexico, and the South Korean Im went 3-1-1 within the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in December. Smith, of Australia, posted a file of 1-1-1.
Im beat U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland in singles and Smith took down Justin Thomas. Ancer needed to face Tiger Woods, who was at his finest and wanted 16 holes for the victory.
The Americans trailed for every of the primary 4 classes earlier than rallying on the ultimate day to beat an International group that had seven rookies in all.
The quantity of strain that you simply really feel there, the thrill, each putt counts a lot, Ancer stated. That complete week was massive for me and my profession. I felt like its helped me tremendously.
Smith is enjoying within the Masters for the fourth time he completed tied for fifth in 2018 whereas Ancer and Im are making their debuts. Ancer stated he had by no means been to the course till a apply session final week, when he performed 27 holes with a member.
When he received the Masters invitation, Ancer framed it hung it in his front room.
Its one thing that I dreamt since I used to be a bit of child to play right here, he stated.
WELCOME BACK WILLETT
Danny Willett turned in his finest spherical ever on the Masters, capturing a 6-under 66 that even eclipsed the ultimate spherical of his inconceivable victory in 2016.
It was actually a far cry from his final three appearances at Augusta National.
Since successful the inexperienced jacket in a match finest identified for Jordan Spieths collapse, Willett has missed the reduce every time. The 33-year-old Englishman by no means even broke par in a spherical.
But this yr, Willett opened with a 71 and adopted up with a good higher rating Friday. He eclipsed his earlier private better of 67, which carried him to victory on Sunday 4 years in the past.
Physically, Im most likely pretty much as good as I ever have been, he stated. Were working fairly exhausting to maintain that stuff going, after which that clearly means that you can apply a bit of extra, prepare a bit of bit tougher, prepare a bit of bit higher, and had been in place.
Willett cracked his driver ending up the primary spherical within the morning. He wasnt snug with the restore, so he relied strictly on a 3-wood within the afternoon.
It labored out simply positive. Willett accomplished his spherical and was simply two photographs off the lead when play was suspended.
Ive received some good recollections, clearly, round this place, and its been actually robust the previous few years lacking out right here, he stated. Real good present right this moment, particularly after that begin, to struggle again to be enjoying the weekend right here, which is a spot thats actual near my coronary heart.
Former Masters champion Adam Scott was motoring alongside at four underneath as he completed up his first spherical, and he figured to get even nearer to the lead as he approached the par-5 15th.
And thats the place it went all fallacious, beginning with a shot that hit the entrance of the inexperienced and rolled again into the water.
The first mistake was not getting the primary ball over the water nicely sufficient, Scott stated. Unfortunately, I believe we hit the fallacious membership there, however then compound that with a foul break. It was shot.
His fourth shot hit the pin and caromed again into the water.
I believe I used to be making a par and ended up making double, Scott stated. Ive seen that occur earlier than on the 15th gap.
The most well-known was when Tiger Woods hit the pin along with his third shot and went again into the water. That was in 2013 — the yr Scott received the Masters — and Woods wound up violating a rule on drops and almost was disqualified.
Scott hit his sixth shot onto the inexperienced and made the putt for 7, figuring out it may have worse.
I used to be nervous then once I was hitting my sixth shot as a result of the 6 can flip to eight, and it will possibly spiral actually uncontrolled, he stated. I used to be joyful to make a double, however its such a momentum killer.
He accomplished the primary spherical with a 70, adopted up with a 72 and will probably be not less than seven photographs behind going to the third spherical.
CALL IN THE MARKER
When Erik van Rooyen withdrew from the Masters, it compelled the uncommon Friday name for a marker.
Bring on Jeff Knox.
An Augusta National member, Knox has change into famend for taking part in as a marker on the weekend when an odd variety of gamers make the reduce. He joins the one participant who goes out first in every of the ultimate two rounds.
Turns out, Knox was wanted earlier this yr.
Van Rooyen was a part of the one twosome within the 92-player subject, scheduled to play the primary two rounds with South Koreas Sung Kang. After capturing a 76 within the opening spherical, van Rooyen dropped out with an unspecified harm.
That would have compelled Kang to play the second spherical alone amid all of the threesomes, so the membership known as on Knox to spherical out the pairing.