Augusta, GA, United States (4E Sports) – Bubba Watson buried five straight birdies en route to a four-under-par 68 and a three-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the 78th Masters Friday at Augusta National Golf Club.
Watson’s five straight birdies on the back nine, starting at the 12th hole, marked his career-best streak at a major.
“It’s never easy,” said Watson, who won the Green Jacket two years ago. “It’s a great test of golf and I just got some good breaks, some good things that went my way. Guessed the wind right on the stretch of holes on the back nine there.”
“That five-hole stretch was good,” he added. “It’s one of those where you’re not focused on what you’re doing, you don’t know that you’re making all these birdies, you’re focused on one shot at a time.
With a two-round total of 137, Watson leads John Senden by three strokes and defending champion Adam Scott, Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt and Jordan Speith by four shots.
Tied for seventh were Fred Couples, Jimmy Walker and Jim Furyk while bunched in 10th pace were Kevin Streelman, Stephen Gallacher, Russell Henley, Kevin Stadler and Jamie Donaldson.
Senden fired a career-low 68, highlighted by six birdies and two bogeys, to climb from 20th place to solo second.
“I’m excited to keep doing what I’ve been doing, playing good golf,” Senden said. “And if I keep believing in myself and enjoying it, that’s the difference when you’re under the pressure, if you can keep a smile on your face.”
Couples carded a second straight 71 to finish 36 holes at 2-under 142 at the 78th Masters, making the cut for the 28th time in 30 starts at Augusta. He is now alone in third place with those 28 cuts made, trailing only Jack Nicklaus (37) and Gary Player (30).
Phil Mickelson failed to make the cut for the first time in 17 years after firing a 73, bringing his 36-hole total to 5-over 149.
The only time in 22 Masters appearances that Mickelson missed the cut was in 1997. His 16 consecutive cuts made was one behind the 17 straight made by Tiger Woods, who is missing the tournament due to injury.