Halfway hut at The Masters: Rose rallies as McIlroy and Johnson crash out

Justin Rose continues to top the leaderboard after two rounds at Augusta National but Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson won’t be around this weekend.

The Masters leaderboard is making pretty reading for England's Justin Rose.

While he never hit the heights of his sparkling first-round 65, a gutsy even-par 72 on Friday after the round looked to be getting away from him meant Rose ended day two the same way he started it: 7-under par and sitting in top spot.

On the surface it looks the best place to be. However, the underlying numbers suggest that Rose is up against it if he wants to convert his lead into a Green Jacket.

For starters, he's not been good from this position. This is Rose's 16th second-round lead/co-lead on the PGA Tour and he's only gone to win four of the previous 15.

In the Majors this is only the second time he's sat on the summit after 36 holes. The first was way back in the 2004 Masters when he fell away to finish tied 22nd.

History also shows that a one-shot lead at this point is precarious. More often than not it doesn't end well.

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Rose is also trying to pull off something very rare at Augusta National. In the history of the event there have been just five wire-to-wire winners and only one since 1976.

Of course, such numbers - if he's aware of them - are unlikely to get to the amiable and balanced 40-year-old as he sets about his weekend task.

But for those watching his progress, they provide context. And those stats certainly add an element of doubt for those wanting to back Rose to go on and claim his first Masters win after so many years of trying.

The chasing pack

Rose's unlikely Saturday two-ball partner will be Masters first-timer Will Zalatoris.

The youngster has even more history to buck given the well-known stat that no Augusta debutant has won the Green Jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

The bigger threats are clearly coming from 2015 Masters winner Jordan Spieth and recent PLAYERS Championship hero Justin Thomas. The Major-winning duo sit two and three shots back respectively.

Let's toss out another stat which helps the man in tied second place, Brian Harman.

Left-handers have won six of the last 18 Masters: that's some strike-rate given the very low percentage of southpaw golfers on Tour.

Triple Augusta winner Phil Mickelson (+3) and double champ Bubba Watson (Evs) are both through to the weekend but it's Harman (one shot off the lead at -6) who looks by far the most likely leftie to prevail.

Paddy Power odds after 36 holes: 4/1 Jordan Spieth (-5), 5/1 Justin Thomas (-4), 11/2 Justin Rose (-7), 12/1 Brian Harman (-6), Will Zalatoris (-6), 14/1 Tony Finau (-4), 16/1 Xander Schauffele (-3), 18/1 Hideki Matsuyama (-4), 20/1 Marc Leishman (-5), 25/1 Si Woo Kim (-4), Bryson DeChambeau (-1)

Big guns crash out

There are a couple of notable omissions when perusing the halfway odds.

That's because defending Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy missed the cut.

Add in Brooks Koepka and Patrick Cantlay and four of the world's top 12 crashed out after 36 holes. Nobody saw that coming.

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Koepka had an excuse after undergoing recent knee surgery but the other three were serious surprises despite some mixed form coming in.

Rory hit just 16 of 28 fairways and 19 of 36 greens in regulation. That simply wasn't good enough and his putter couldn't save him.

DJ and Cantlay were both ranked in the bottom five for Putts per GIR. Johnson's long game wasn't on point either as he split just 17 fairways and found 20 greens.

Johnson had finished in the top 10 in the last five Masters; Rory had made the top 10 in six of the previous seven. The weekend will seem strange without them.

Stats after 36 holes

Justin Rose has done his best work after the turn. Indeed, his tally of nine birdies on the back nine after two rounds is tied for the most on that section in the last 30 years.

Rose has piped 20 of 28 fairways while he ranks fourth for greens in regulation after hitting 15 in round two and 13 in round one.

Spieth has the best greens hit record so far, pelting 30 in the right number (83.33%). That's one more than Xander Schauffele and two better than Rose and Justin Thomas, the Sawgrass champ hitting 16 in his Friday lap of 67.

As for long game stats, Si Woo Kim has some outstanding Strokes Gained numbers so far.

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The hottest putter? Tony Finau leads the way with just 1.39 per greens in regulation. Veterans Jose Maria Olazabal and Henrik Stenson come next.

The favourites don't rank in the top 20 for putting: Rose is 26th, Thomas 28th and, a little surprisingly, Spieth is down in 39th with 1.67.


Justin Rose

"I think it was just a classic day at Augusta National when you're just slightly off. You can be a foot or two out on certain occasions and you end up struggling. I think maybe off the back of yesterday, yeah, you know, it starts to feel pretty different pretty quickly. But again, I kind of told myself going up the 8th hole, you're leading the Masters, your frame of reference is a little bit different to yesterday. Four ahead is something, but you're still leading so like just enjoy it and keep going. I was able to do that. I felt like the turning point for me, a good two-putt on No. 9 just to stop the rut and just to feel like I could then just walk onto the back nine and try to build something fresh and something new. Actually started to play pretty well from that point onwards."

Jordan Spieth

"I thought today was a really, really solid last six holes. I thought I had pretty good chances for birdie on 3 and 8 with a wedge in my hand from inside of 50 yards, and that's normally routine for me, so I was getting a little frustrated through 12 holes at only being 1-under, and instead of making a mistake, I hit it out of the trees, I hit a really good shot out of the trees on 13 today that set up a birdie, I thought that was kind of a turning point that could have gone the other direction. I mean, having made a triple and have five over-par holes through two rounds, I feel pretty good about being at 5-under. That's, what, eight birdies and an eagle on a very difficult golf course, and I think I'd probably sign up for a similar score after the next two days."

Justin Thomas

"I played great today. I played solidly. I drove the ball a lot better, hit a lot more quality iron shots, had some great up and downs. It was easy. For as tough as this place has been playing, I felt like it was as easy as it could have been, other than the putt that I made on 11. I mean, a lot of my birdies have been pretty low stress or pretty easy. I definitely have left a lot of shots out there the last two days or two rounds, but I'm in a great position."

Brian Harman

"Three weeks ago, I didn't expect to be playing in the Masters. So after a couple good days to be in contention is just icing on the cake for me. It's great. I'm going to try to put two more good ones together and see what happens. I had some nerves this morning for sure. Whenever you look up on the leaderboard and you see your name up there pretty high at Augusta, it's hard not to get nervous. I was nervous. But it was nice to settle down with a good birdie on 2, and I struck it well all day today."

Will Zalatoris

(On his most satisfying iron shot of the day) "Has to be 18 knowing that it would get me into the final group. I think that's something that it's a childhood dream to obviously be in the final group of a Major on a weekend, especially here, I think definitely that one for sure."

Tony Finau

"I really like the conditions fast and firm. With my ball flight, I think it's a big advantage. I put plenty of spin on it. I enjoy the golf course the way it's playing -- I guess I wouldn't say enjoy, but I think it's a good setup for me."

Dustin Johnson

"Six three-putts in two rounds, you just can't do that. Obviously didn't drive it great but drove it good enough, never was really too bad out of position. Just the three-putts killed me. You take all the three-putts away, I'm 1-under. That was kind of the difference."

Brooks Koepka

"How disappointed do you think I am? I worked my ass off just to get here, and then to play like this is pretty disappointing. Putter was ice cold, didn't make any putts."


Si Woo Kim turns to his 3-wood after snapping his putter, Justin Thomas' fightback, debutant Will Zalatoris makes it look easy and reigning champion Dustin Johnson crashes out:

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Xander Schauffele goes inches away from a hole-in-one:

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Justin Thomas enjoys his trip to Amen Corner:

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Cameron Champ dials in:

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READ MORE: When Adam Scott won Australia's first Green Jacket

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