AS IT STANDS -9 D. Johnson, Thomas, Smith, Ancer; -8 Cantlay, Im, Matsuyama (thru 15), Rahm (thru 12); -7 Willett, Fleetwood, Rose, Pan (thru 16), Oosthuizen (thru 12). OTHERS-5 Mickelson, Koepka; -4 Woods; -3 McIlroy; +1 DeChambeau
For a man who boldly declared it to be a par-67 earlier in the week, Bryson DeChambeau is struggling to keep up Augusta National's actual par of 72.
The big-hitting US Open champion has work to do to make it to the weekend after after another fluctuant day's work at the Masters.
DeChambeau, 27, is one-over-par and a shot outside the projected cut line with six holes of his second round to complete.
When he returns to the course on Saturday morning, after bad light halted play on Friday, he'll have an eagle putt on the 13th to get back into red numbers. Even if he makes that, however, he will have to eliminate the errors that have plagued him throughout the first two days.
After picking up a shot at the par-5 second, helped in no small part by a 380-yard drive, DeChambeau lost his ball of the tee on the third en route to a triple-bogey seven. Further bogeys followed at four, five and seven, offset by birdies at six and eight.
Another dropped shot came along at the tenth before a timely birdie at the 12th in the fading light breathed life back into his round. As dusk settled, he launched a 317-yard drive, followed by an approach to 18 feet, to give himself an eagle putt at 13 to begin his Saturday.
MASTERS PREVIEW POD FEAT. GARY PLAYER
As things stand, DeChambeau - the bookmakers' favourite at the start of the week - is currently ten shots off the pace set by clubhouse leaders Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Cam Smith and Abraham Ancer.
His playing partner Jon Rahm, sitting on eight-under, will take the outright lead into the final two rounds if he can play his last six holes of round two in two-under or better. The Spaniard will have a five-footer for birdie when play resumes early on Saturday morning.
There are, at present, 13 players within two shots of the lead, of whom only five have previous experience of winning a major. They include world No.1 Johnson who is bidding to add to a green jacket to the US Open he won in 2016.
"I like where I'm at," said the 36-year-old. "I like my position. Before I teed off, I think I would have taken it. I feel like I played a little bit better than my position right now, but you know, I'm still happy with the way I'm swinging it, how I'm controlling the golf ball and everything I'm doing. Rolling the putter good. Just hopefully can see a few more go in over the weekend."
Like Johnson, Thomas is also bidding to win his second major championship. The 27-year-old has never finished better than 12th in four previous visits to Augusta but that's something he intends to correct this weekend.
"It's definitely not as low as I feel like I could or should be, but we're in good position going into the weekend," he said.