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Apr 13, 2014

Watson leads by two heading into Masters back nine

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – The 78th Masters was poised for another thrilling finish as 2012 champion Bubba Watson outdueled playing partner Jordan Spieth over the front nine to seize a two-shot lead at Augusta National on Sunday.

Left-hander Watson mixed four birdies with a lone bogey to reach the turn in three-under 33, moving to eight under overall in pursuit of his second major title.

Apr 13, 2014

Golf-Spieth and Kuchar in early tie for Masters lead

AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 13 (Reuters) – Matt Kuchar reeled off two consecutive birdies to join fellow American Jordan Spieth in an early tie for the Masters lead at six under par in Sunday’s final round.

Kuchar knocked in a tap-in at the par-five second, then chipped in from just off the green at the par-four third to join Spieth at the top on a warm day at Augusta National where the greens ran lightning fast.

Apr 13, 2014

Scoring difficult for early starters at the Masters

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Conditions were tricky for early starters on a lightning-fast, sun-baked Augusta National layout where a tightly bunched leaderboard was likely to create a gripping finish to the Masters on Sunday.

Only seven players were under par for the final round in the early going, Australian Steve Bowditch the best of them after eagling the par-five second and recording a birdie at the par-four third to get to one over for the tournament.

Apr 13, 2014

Hot putter helps Blixt into Masters title hunt

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Swede Jonas Blixt has taken to major championships like a duck to water and helped by superb putting on lightning-fast greens, he stayed in contention for the 78th Masters with an ice-cool display on Saturday.

The 29-year-old needed only 27 putts on a day when many of the game’s best players were humbled on the greens, carding a one-under-par 71 to finish the third round just one stroke off the lead.

Apr 12, 2014

Kuchar makes Masters move on ‘frightening’ greens

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Matt Kuchar knows Augusta National as well as anyone at this week’s Masters and he was delighted to surge into contention on Saturday after coping with slick greens he described as “on the frightening side”.

Georgia resident and world number seven Kuchar, who has recorded top-10 finishes in his last two Masters starts, fired a four-under-par 68 in sun-baked conditions to end the third round of the year’s opening major one stroke off the lead.

Apr 12, 2014

Laidback Jimenez in Masters contention with vintage display

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Just six days from making his debut on the Champions Tour for players over 50, charismatic Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez is best known for his love of cigars and Rioja wine, and his quirky warm-up routine.

Yet the pony-tailed 50-year-old from Malaga has produced some of the best golf of his career in recent months and on Saturday at the Masters he fired the lowest score of the tournament to surge into contention.

Apr 12, 2014

Back nine surge keeps Scott in Masters contention

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Adam Scott, who has honed the art of patience at the majors in recent years, kept his Masters title defense on track with a superb back nine in difficult conditions on Friday.

Just as he did last year on the way to his maiden victory in a major, the Australian world number two shrugged off a shaky start to the second round, three birdies after the turn helping him card a level-par 72 at a sun-baked Augusta National.

Apr 11, 2014

Slick Masters conditions remind Olazabal of 1999

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Jose Maria Olazabal’s victory at the 1999 Masters is often referenced as the last time Augusta National played fast and firm throughout the tournament but the Spaniard believes this year’s edition could match it.

Despite the heavy rain and lightning on Monday that forced practice to be suspended after just two hours, the heavily contoured layout has since quickened in pace after four successive days of bright sunshine and swirling winds.

Apr 11, 2014

Bjorn again in form as he makes Masters move

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Thomas Bjorn has been playing some of the best golf of his life over the past eight months and he made that count on Friday as he charged up the leaderboard with a scintillating finish at the Masters.

The 43-year-old Dane birdied four of the last five holes to shoot a four-under-par 68 in the second round, despite tricky scoring conditions at Augusta National on a firming layout in swirling winds.

Apr 11, 2014

Bubba revels in pressure-free Masters start

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Twelve months after succumbing to the pressure of trying to retain his Masters title, Bubba Watson delivered a near-flawless display to soar up the leaderboard in Thursday’s opening round at Augusta National.

The power-hitting American left-hander, who is renowned for his audacious brand of ‘Bubba’ golf, was the only player in the field of 97 to go bogey-free as he fired a three-under-par 69 on a firm, fast-running layout.