Martin Dempster has his finger on the pulse at Augusta
ORE ONE FOR SHANE How quickly fortunes can turn in golf. Just ask Shane Lowry. The Irishman was on the leaderboard towards the end of his first round before going into freefall as he dropped ten shots in his next 15 holes. After signing for a second-round 79 and a seven-over total, he was in danger of missing the cut for the second time in three appearances in the season’s opening major.
aNYTHING YOU CAN DO.... The par-5 second has proved profitable for Scottish Open champions so far this week. After Phil Mickelson eagled it on the first day, the feat was emulated by Rickie Fowler on day two. The 2015 Scottish Open winner holed out from a bunker to earn a pair of crystal goblets. It also repaired the damage of a closing 6 on Thursday.
WHAT’S GONE WRONG, HENRIK? It’s been a sticky start to the 2017 campaign for Open champion Henrik Stenson. The Swede hasn’t been firing on all cylinders since claiming a second Race to Dubai title last November. He wasn’t at his best here, either, in signing for rounds of 77 and 75. It left him facing a first early exit in this event in six years. The first Scandinavian to win a men’s major will be hoping to give a better account when he defends the Claret Jug.
OUT OF LUCK One patron didn’t have much “Luck” as he was hit on the head by an errant shot during the second round. The culprit was Australian amateur Curtis Luck as he pulled his tee shot at the par-3 fourth hole. TV replays showed blood flowing down the man’s skull.
TRUE BLUE Blue is the colour for caddie Mark Crane. The Prestwick man is a big Rangers fan, as he was proud to let his Twitter followers know before heading out with Chris Wood. “Ever wondered what caddies wear under those boiler suits?” he wrote, posting a picture showing a Rangers t-shirt alongside his one this week.
Ernie Els is putting up a fight in a bid to extend his Masters career. The South African is making his 23rd Augusta appearance this week, having twice finished runner-up. But, with his exemption due to run out, he needs to finish in the top 12 and ties. He made the cut on 147.