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Bubba Watson rolled in five birdies
in a row to hold the outright lead
late in the second round of the
78th masters today and surge into
contention for a second green jacket
in three years.
While most of the world’s best
golfers were struggling just to make
par in brutally tough conditions at
Augusta National, Watson produced
a masterful display to grab the
clubhouse lead at seven-under-par.
That left him with a three shot lead
over Australia’s John Senden and a
four-shot advantage over Denmark’s
Thomas Bjorn and Sweden’s Jonas
Blixt, one of a record 24 rookies in
The defending champion, Australia’s
Adam Scott, dropped three shots on
his front nine to slip seven shots off
the pace while three-time winner Phil
Mickelson was in danger of missing
the cut for the first time in 17 years
after finishing the day at five-over.
championship in an epic play-off two
years ago, followed up his opening
69 with a sparking four-under-par
68, matching the best score of the
The maverick left-hander made his
first bogey of the tournament at the
ninth hole and also dropped a shot at
the last when he missed a short putt
but reeled off five successive birdies
from the 12th to seize control of the
first major of the year.
“It’s not science here,” Watson said.
“All I’m trying to do is just hit the
greens, that means my tee shots are
good and two putts, maybe throw in
a birdie here or there. That ’s really all
I was doing and that ’s what I’ve done
the last two days and it ’s worked out
Senden came into the first major of
the year in good form after winning
last month’s Tampa Bay Classic. He
was two-over after four holes but
stormed up the leaderboard with six
birdies in his next 11 holes for a 68.
With the wind gusting across the
course and making the notoriously
fast greens even more difficult to read,
only a handful of players were able to
make up any ground as the traditional
roars around the Georgian pines were
replaced by groans and sighs.
Bjorn, playing in the morning when
conditions were less tormenting,
birdied four of his last five holes while
Blixt picked up two late birdies to
consolidate his place after a double-
bogey at the 11th, the opening leg of
“It’s a tricky golf course...if you’re
not quite on, it becomes extremely
difficult out here,” Bjorn said. “So, I
just tried to do the right things and I
executed it well.”
South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen,
tied for second with Watson and Scott
overnight, briefly grabbed a share of
the lead when he eagled the par-five
13th after hitting his approach to
eight feet from the flagstick.
He quickly tumbled down the
leaderboard when he made a triple-
bogey eight at the 15th, then dropped
another shot at the last to finish at
“On this type of golf course, you
know that can happen. You just
need to focus and get on with it,”
Oosthuizen said, who was beaten
by Watson in a play-off for the 2012
“It’s more disappointing on Sunday
when something like that happens.
At the moment, I’m in a good
position for the tournament.”
Mickelson was left facing an
anxious wait to see if he would extend
his record of making every cut since
1997 after he took a triple bogey at
the treacherous par-three 12th hole
when he found the bunker three
“I didn’t play great. I didn’t play
bad,” Mickelson said.
“I just had one bad hole there at
12. And I keep making these triples,
they ’re tough to overcome.”
Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Luke
Donald were also just outside the
projected cutline of four-over and
sweating on some help to make the
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy,
who blew a four shot lead on the
final day of the 2011 Masters, was
struggling at two-over par with eight
holes to play after making two double
bogeys. — Reuters
Look out, here come the
Last year’s easy beats are
anything but this season, as last
night ’s convincing 27-20 victory
over the Bulls under the D unedin
roof so clearly showed. Faced with
an early barrage from the Bulls’
massive pack, the Highlanders
merely bided their time.
With men like Malakai Fekitoa
and the two Smiths, Aaron and
Ben, they will always be confident
of their counter-attacking ability.
Whether they can maintain this
good form remains to be seen.
This victory has rocked them up
the leaderboard from 10th to 5th,
but they have a bye next weekend
and following that two extremely
tough fixtures against the Sharks
and Stormers in South Africa.
Regardless, it would have been
a pleasing performance for coach
Jamie Joseph, who watched his
team blow a big lead in their
narrow victory over the Rebels on
this ground last weekend.
This time the margin was more
clear-cut due to their ability to
cut loose in broken play and the
Bulls’ incredible knack of making
mistakes just as they were in
positions to score or increase
pressure on the home side.
For the Bulls, so dominant for
the first half an hour, so see the
Highlanders come back relatively
easily from the 13-3 deficit must
have been a blow. A brilliant
over-thrown lineout taken by
second-five Shaun Treeby — a
planned move — led to Lima
Sopoaga’s converted try and a
penalty soon after evened the
score at 13-all.
The Bulls had played with such
muscularity — they fielded a
massive forward pack including
veteran Victor Matfield and an
openside flanker in Jacques D u
Plessis who stands 2.1m tall —
that their confidence must have
been knocked. Their lineout was
unbreakable and their scrum a
real force, reaping as it did three
Their first-half try was
beautifully put together too,
halfback Piet van Zyl chipping
superbly from an attacking scrum
into the hands of right wing Bjorn
Basson. Conversely, once the Bulls’
initial onslaught had petered out,
the Highlanders were a step ahead
everywhere apart from the set
piece. Brad Thorn’s departure with
a right biceps injury straight after
halftime did nothing to halt their
The Highlanders simply dug
a little deeper, their fitness and,
crucially, skill level a level or two
above the Bulls’.
Centre Fekitoa’s break and pass
put Gareth Evans away for a try
which gave the Highlanders the
lead for the first time and then he
scored one himself, through pace
and power, accepting an inside
pass from Aaron Smith to go
under the posts. It is little wonder
the former Blues midfielder is on
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s
The Bulls reverted to what they
know, but once the Highlanders
defused their driving maul it was
all over; prop Marcel van der
Merwe scoring a consolation try.
Highlanders 27 (Lima Sopoaga,
Gareth Evans, Malakai Fekitoa
tries; Sopoaga 2 pens, 3 cons),
Bulls 20 (Bjorn Basson, Marcel
van der Merwe tries; Jacques-
Louis Potgieter 2 pens, 2 cons).
Half-time: 13-13 . — APNZ
Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore was jeered off
Suncorp Stadium after controversially escaping
punishment for punching Ed Quirk in his side’s
23-20 win over Queensland.
The Reds are fuming after referee Steve Walsh
denied them a 49th-minute try and failed to take
action on Moore’s left-arm upper-cut on Q uirk
at a ruck on the goalline last night.
Will Genia had dived over in the corner but the
try was scratched as Walsh ruled Quirk illegally
held Moore before the Wallabies rake lashed out.
Queensland coach Richard Graham was livid
post-match and felt Moore should have been
shown a yellow or red card for his punch. While
the citing commissioner was running his rule
over the match, Graham indicated the Reds were
keen to have the matter investigated. Brumbies
coach Laurie Fisher commended Walsh for his
hard-line stance in clamping down on holding at
the ruck, and felt Quirk had cost his side a try.
Catherine the Duchess
of Cambridge steers
NZL41 America’s Cup
Yacht during racing on the
While William, the Duke
of Cambridge steers his
PICTURES: Chris Cameron
Hundreds race around lake
The first group of competitors in the annual Around Brunner Cycle race get started outside Monteiths brewery this morning. As many as 300 riders
gathered to take part in the main race, that takes riders through Kumara to Jacksons, around the lake and back to Greymouth via Moana, Stillwater and
Dobson. All riders on the long course had cleared the Taramakau bridge by 9am this morning. Another 200 cyclists pedalled their way around the shorter
30km course — which took them around the Grey River, to Stillwater and back to town via Taylor ville.
PICTURE: Lisa Rangi
Watson eyes second green jacket in three years
Fekitoa centre of attention as
Highlanders ease past Bulls
PICTURE: Getty Images
Highlanders Malakai Fekitoa on the attack in last night ’s during the round nine Super Rugby match against the
Bulls at Forsyth Barr Stadium, in Dunedin.
Brumbies edge Reds
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