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Willett happy despite finishing with triple bogey at Masters

Danny Willett Danny Willett - The Canadian Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Danny Willett was right in the mix in the second round of the Masters until taking two shots to get out of a bunker on the 18th and three putts on the green.

It added to a triple bogey that ruined a hard day of work, and his 75 put him at 1-under 215.

Frustrating? Sure. But for Willett, even playing at Augusta National might be a bigger surprise than when he won the green jacket in 2016.

Willett’s left shoulder was aching so much last September that he had an MRI, which revealed two tears along with a few cysts that had to be cleaned out. His recovery time was expected to be at least a year.

And here he is. The Masters is his first tournament since the BMW PGA Championship last September, and even then he wasn’t sure he could be playing until he got in 18 holes on Sunday.

“It will be lovely to be here on the weekend,” Willett said. “Fingers crossed it’s not pumping 50 (mph) over the weekend.”

Willett said he played five times at home last week in England, and the Sunday test at Augusta National was more about being able to hit the shots.

“As we’ve proved, we can still hit most of them,” Willett said. “But there’s still a couple that are not quite where we want them to be.”

The bunker blunders were as much a product of the wind that was sweeping grains of sand into the air. And while it’s been nearly seven months since he last competed, he looked at the body of work over 35 holes and not the triple bogey at the end of two rounds.

“Now the way you want to finish the day, but top 10 going into the weekend,” Willett said. “Press on.”

He plans to take off seven weeks after the Masters before making a full return.


Tyrrell Hatton sounded as though he was about to lose his mind Friday in the Masters, and for once it wasn’t because of his own game.

Hatton was furious with having to wait on the group in front of him, and he was critical of officials for not responding sooner.

“The lads in front have been so slow,” Hatton said. “It’s pretty poor from the officials that it took 32 holes to put them on the clock. Yesterday they’d lost a hole-and-a-half, and then they weren’t any better even this morning, and then for the second round they were just brutal.”

He didn’t mention names. The tee sheet takes care of that. Playing in the group ahead were Patrick Reed, Sungjae Im and Kurt Kitayama.

“Fine for them. They’re not waiting on any shot that they hit,” Hatton said. “But for us, we stood in the fairway, we stood on the tee. It was really hard to get a rhythm.”

Hatton appreciates that gusts were nearly 40 mph and conditions were difficult. He also noted the 89-man field is by far the smallest among majors.

“It’s a small field,” Hatton said. “It’s not hard to really keep up with the group in front.”


A pair of Masters champions saw their hopes end in a matter of minutes Friday morning when completing their weather-delayed first rounds.

None was more spectacular than Jordan Spieth.

He was 2 over for his round playing the par-5 15th into a fierce wind, meaning he had to lay up. His wedge was just over the back of the green, leaving him a chip down the slope with the wind at his back. The chip kept rolling, past the flag, off the green and into the water.

Spieth went to the other side of the pond to the drop area, went long again, putted weakly and made a quadruple-bogey 9 (he also made a 9 on the 15th in the first round in 2017).

Two holes later, he missed a 2-foot par putt and signed for a 79, his worst score by three shots at the Masters.

Right behind him was Dustin Johnson, who was 1 over for the round until a double bogey from the trees on the 14th, and a double bogey with a wedge into the pond on the 15th. He shot 78.

Neither will be around for the weekend.


Fred Couples failed to make the cut at the Masters after rounds of 80-76, but the 1992 champion said he plans to play again next year.

But first, he has to get his back fixed.

“I don’t want to say it was no fun because it’s Augusta, but swinging was a chore,” Couples said.

The 64-year-old Couples, who has been withdrawing from events on the PGA Tour Champions because of his latest back trouble, had several cortisone shots last week. He even brought his physical therapist, Chad Beauchamp, from Southern California to help him out.

He knew it would be a painful experience but didn’t want to miss the Masters, so he put off plans to get an MRI until next week.

“I could play forever, but I can’t play like this,” Couples said.


Patrick Cantlay holed out with a pitching wedge on the par-4 17th for an eagle that salvaged his opening round. And on Friday, he holed out for an eagle on the par-4 third hole.

He became only the third player at the Masters to make two eagles on different par 4s in the same tournament.

Brett Ogle made an eagle on third hole in the first round and the 14th hole in the third round in 1993. Brandt Jobe made eagle on the par-4 10th in the second round and on the par-4 seventh hole in the fourth round in 2006.

Augusta National awards players a pair of crystal goblets for each eagle they made. Cantlay now has four already from this year's Masters.


In a down year for TV ratings in golf, leave it to the Masters to give it a boost.

ESPN said its live telecast of the first round Thursday averaged 3.2 million viewers. That’s the highest for the opening round since 2018, and it’s a 28% increase over the first round a year ago when it averaged 2.5 million viewers.

The first round, delayed by 2 1/2 hours because of weather, aired from 3 p.m. to just after 8 p.m.


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