JORDAN Spieth is on course to become the youngest Green Jacket winner since Tiger Woods, in 1997, after the 21-year-old took the 79th Masters by the scruff of the neck at the halfway stage.
The Texan followed up his opening 64 with a 66 for a 14-under-par total – a new record after 36 holes in the season’s opening major at Augusta National.
It looked set to earn Spieth, who finished joint-second here 12 months ago on his debut, a five-shot lead over fellow American Charley Hoffman heading into the weekend.
“Any time you can set a record here is pretty awesome,” admitted Spieth after beating a mark that had been set by Ray Floyd in 1976 and had stood for close to 40 years.
Spieth, who has finished first-second-second in his last three events, signed for six birdies in a bogey-free second round, having dropped just one shot on the opening circuit.
“To have one bogey through 36 holes on this track means that I’m putting well and putting from short distances well,” he added.
“The hardest thing to do is put aside wanting to win so badly. I got off to a great start and had a chance to win last year on Sunday. I’d like to have that same opportunity this year.
“But this is only the halfway point and I’m aware of that. I’m not going to get ahead of myself and I’m going to try and stay in the moment and very patient these last two days.”
Spieth, who played in both a Junior Ryder Cup and a Walker Cup in Scotland as an amateur, has set up his golden chance to become a Masters champion in the same week that his fellow Texan Ben Crenshaw, a two-times winner here, is making his farewell appearance.
“He’s been a mentor to me, somebody that’s been very helpful, especially around this place,” acknowledged Spieth. “When you think of Ben Crenshaw, you think of Augusta National and the Masters.”
Only two years younger than him, Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil is not surprised to see Spieth on the verge of becoming a major winner. “When he was 16 he was making cuts on the PGA Tour,” said the Amateur champion after missing the cut. “It’s not a surprise what he’s doing. It’s his to lose now. In the last couple of months he’s been great.”