Masters Friday Wrap: A crowded Friday leader board makes for weekend drama with Tiger in striking distance

Francesco Molinari of Italy plays a stroke from the No. 2 tee during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Friday, April 12, 2019. (Source: Augusta National Golf Club)
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Friday, April 12, 2019

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Phil Mickelson were the men on top of the Masters leader board Friday morning.

By the end of their rounds Friday afternoon, only one man managed to stay afloat in the top of an extremely crowded leader board.

Oh, and Tiger Woods. He's one off the lead after what many are calling a "masterful" second nine.

It's Augusta National. It's drama. It's the Masters headed into what could be a very interesting weekend.

Let's start with someone who had a rough day.

What happened with Bryson DeChambeau?

DeChambeau entered the day six-under at 66. He seemed to be carrying himself through the first nine, but came into trouble late.

DeChambeau's day seemed to really unravel around hole No. 9 and hole No. 10, where the once leader went bogey-double bogey. He went bogey again on No. 12 and No. 16.

What happened?

"Well, I've got plenty of ideas, I don't know if they're right," DeChambeau said. "I would say."

Wrapping up his day, DeChambeau hit 75, good for +3 on the day.

The loss of momentum in the day was, DeChambeau said, "mind-blowing."

"And so it's shocking to me and I, it's frustrating. But at the end of the day I still got a chance to win it, I'm obviously, what am I, four back right now? That's not too bad going into the weekend, right? If you would have said, you would be four back you got a chance, so. Not terrible, but surely I could be 10-under right now," DeChambeau said.

From middle to the top, Francesco Molinari shoots past his competition

Francesco Molinari finished his Thursday with a respectable -2 -- good for a tie spot with Tiger Woods. In fact, Molinari went birdie or par on 17 of 18 holes on Thursday.

But Friday, the Italian pro really took off, going birdie on five holes and ending the day hitting 67 for a share of the lead with Jason Day and Brooks Koepka.

It's a performance, so far, that's not surprising at least to one journalist who asked Molinari if he felt overlooked heading into the Masters.

"No, I don't think so," Molinari said. "There's obviously loads of great players in golf right now, and you know, I think I'm getting the attention that I deserve, and it's not something that I seek or that I want desperately. So I'm happy to go about my business and keep playing good golf. That's what I'm trying to focus on."

Jason Day almost withdrew due to back issues

Just like Molinari, Jason Day entered Friday's round just two-under and shooting 70. Just like Molinari, Day took off and built a steady round.

But Day says he, like many others, are taking advantage of the par 5 holes.

"But you know, over the last two days, I've played the par 5s nicely," Day said. "I think I've played them 7‑under, which is good. Try to minimize the mistakes out there, and you know, that's the whole goal. If you can get yourself in position and get yourself close to the green or on the green, great. If not, you know, and you're out of position, get yourself back into position and wedge it on close and hopefully hole the putt."

But perhaps the biggest turnaround for Day has been the fact that he considered withdrawing yesterday due to issues with his back. It's safe to say he made the right decision today.

"I said to my caddie, Luke, I said, 'If this stays the same pain as it was on the putting green, I'll probably end up withdrawing,'' Day said. "But it was in a different spot, so it was kind of new to me. I didn't know how it was going to go throughout the day. Then I saw my chiro after the first hole on the second tee, and then I saw him again on the fourth tee, and the pain actually kind of just stayed the same."

Brooks Koepka stays afloat

Brooks Koepka entered Friday with a share of the lead. On Friday, he walked off the National with a share of the lead again.

Koepka managed to dig himself out of a slump he appeared to be heading towards after going double bogey on hole No. 2 and bogey-bogey on No. 4 and No. 6.

From there, Koepka grabbed a birdie on No. 8 and played par through No. 15 and No. 18 where a pair of birdies gave him one-under for the day.

Koepka's day, according him, was just momentum from yesterday.

"Yesterday everything seemed to click. And today, when I was hot, I was hot. When it's as difficult of a wind as it is today, it's not blowing very hard, so you get some gusts that are downwind and then all of a sudden they are into the wind, two seconds later. It makes it quite difficult," Koepka said. "But I mean, I really could have shot in the 60s very easily if I just would have made some 4‑footers."

Tiger Woods, y'all

It's not a major golf tournament -- the Masters, especially -- if we didn't speak about Tiger Woods. Luckily, we have a reason to. He's one stroke off the lead.

Still, Tiger had some opportunities to find himself tied for the lead or at least alone on the leader board. He's not letting that get to his head.

"Yeah, I missed a few putts out there but I'm not too bummed out about it because I hit them on my lines," Woods said. "So I can live with that. I can live with days when I'm hitting putts on my line and they just don't go in, that's the way it goes. But I also made some distance putts there at 9, 14, 15, those were, they were nice to make and if I keep hitting the putts on my line, they will start dropping."

Tiger will just hope that the others above him in the leader board standings will start dropping, too.

The Masters continues Saturday morning with a 9 a.m. tee.