The Masters 2024: Jon Rahm squeaks inside the cut line

Equipo
By Equipo
6 Min Read

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Jon Rahm went from fighting for the green jacket a year ago to fighting back from below the cut line at the Masters.

The defending champion was 6 over Friday and in danger of missing the weekend after a three-putt double bogey at the par-4 14th. But during a roller-coaster finishing stretch, Rahm made a pair of birdies along with a three-putt bogey at No. 17 before a par at the tough final hole left him 5 over for the tournament, and one shot inside the cut line.

The cut moved from plus-5 to plus-6 as the last groups finished amid brutal wind that sent scores soaring. That brought a group of 11 into the weekend on the number, including former Masters champs Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott.

Tiger Woods wound up making the cut easily for a record 24th consecutive time. He was at 1 over after a second-round 73.

Justin Thomas melted down for the second straight year and missed the cut by one. He went double-double-bogey-double over his last four holes, taking him from even par and in the thick of the championship to 7 over and out of it entirely.

Thomas wasn’t alone among the major champions missing the cut, though.

British Open champion Brian Harman had a disastrous eight holes to finish his first round Friday, playing the stretch 11 over with two double-bogeys and a triple. The resulting 47 on the second nine at Augusta National, and a first-round 81, left the Georgia native needing far more than the second-round 72 that he produced to play the weekend.

Jordan Spieth, Wyndham Clark, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose also missed the cut.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen it like this,” admitted Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, who was 11 over and also missed the cut. “We’ve had a few years where it’s blown, but this is as difficult as I’ve ever played it.”

Spieth’s downfall could be traced to a single hole, the 550-yard par-5 15th, where most arrive thinking birdie. Instead, the three-time major champion hit his approach shot over the green, setting up a tough pitch back up the hill. It took off on the slick green and, aided by the gusting wind, rolled all the way into the water on the other side.

After taking a penalty stroke, Spieth hit his next shot over the green again, nearly to the same spot. And by the time he used his putter to finally get onto the putting surface, he was headed to a quadruple bogey that shot him right out of contention.

It was the second time Spieth had made a nine on the hole. He also did it in 2017.

Unlike then, when Spieth rallied for a second-round 69 and finished tied for 11th, there was no dramatic comeback. His second-round 74 — pretty good given the conditions — still left him 9 over and looking forward to next month’s PGA Championship at Valhalla. There, Spieth will try for the eighth time complete the career grand slam.

Clark, the U.S. Open champion, played his last five holes in 3 over to miss the cut by one. Johnson, the 2020 Masters champion, had back-to-back double bogeys on his way to an opening 78, then had eight bogeys during a second-round 79 that left him better than just four others in the 89-man field.

The only one among five amateurs to make the cut was Neal Shipley at 3 over. Stewart Hagestad, Christo Lamprecht, Santiago de la Fuente and Jasper Stubbs were headed home after a memorable week they wanted to last a little bit longer.

“I think two things can be true at the same time,” Hagestad said. “One, you can be super bummed, and a lot of your memories are directly correlated to how you played and playing the weekend. … You can also say that it’s the Masters, and it’s something you look forward to the whole year, and then it’s obviously a goal that you set for yourself for your entire life. It’s a lot of memories and neat things to kind of reminisce on that you can remember forever.

“I’m bummed,” Hagestad added, “but life goes on, and it’s all good.”

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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