AUGUSTA, Ga. — Patrick Reed is halfway home to his first major championship.
Reed shot a 6-under 66 in the second round of the Masters on Friday, moving to 9 under for the tournament and giving him a two-shot lead over Marc Leishman heading into the third round.
“I kept myself out of trouble and allowed my putter to do the work,” Reed said.
Reed and Leishman will be the final pairing Saturday at Augusta National, with the weather forecast calling for steady rain throughout the day. Both Reed and Leishman are seeking their first major title.
Mickelson matches worst round ever at Masters
Phil Mickelson’s 79 on Friday matched his career-worst score at Augusta National and took him from contention to the cut line after the second round of the Masters.
Tiger fades with 75 but will play into weekend
Tiger Woods made the cut at Augusta National, but a second-round 75 on Friday left him 13 shots off the lead at the Masters. “Even though I’m a lot behind, if I play a special weekend, shoot two rounds in the mid-60s, you never know.”
Reed was at 9-under 135.
Right behind? Five major champions, for starters.
Henrik Stenson (70) was four shots behind. Rory McIlroy (71) is off to his best 36-hole start in seven years and is looking as poised as ever to capture the fourth leg of the career Grand Slam. Jordan Spieth lost his two-shot lead on the first hole and was on the verge of getting left behind until he made a key par putt to close out the front nine with a 40, and then salvaged a 74 to join McIlroy just five shots behind.
Looming was Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, who made a 45-foot par putt on the 16th to atone for several birdie putts in the 10-foot range he missed. Johnson had a 68 and was six shots behind, along with PGA champion Justin Thomas, who had a 67.
Eleven of the 17 players still under par at the halfway point can be found among the top 20 in the world.
Two of the sport’s biggest stars, meanwhile, struggled.
Tiger Woods hit another shot into Rae’s Creek, didn’t make a birdie until the 13th hole and wound up with a 3-over 75, leaving him 13 shots behind Reed. Phil Mickelson matched his worst score ever at Augusta National with a 79 to make the cut on the number, leaving him 14 shots behind.
Reed, who led Augusta State to a pair of NCAA titles, opened with a 25-foot birdie putt and zoomed into the lead after two more short birdie putts. He ran off three straight birdies again at the end of the front nine, holing a 15-foot birdie at No. 9 to stretch his lead.
He is the only player in the field to make birdie on every par 5 both rounds.
“The par 5s are huge around here to be able to pick up ground on,” Reed said. “You’re not going to shoot a low score if you don’t.”
For everyone else, it was about jockeying for position.
Spieth was happy to be near the top after the way he started — a tee shot into the trees on the right and a three putts for a double bogey, and then a drive to the left and three more putts for a bogey. Just like that he was behind, and it kept getting worse. He made bogey from the middle of the fairway on No. 7. He three-putted from long range on the par-5 eighth. And he was headed for a 41 on the front nine until he made a 10-foot par putt.
“I’m still in this golf tournament,” Spieth said. “With the way the back nine was playing today, the wheels could have come off there. But I made some nice par saves and was able to grind out some phenomenal second-shot iron shots and good two-putt birdies.”
Leishman seized on his moment with the best shot of the day. His tee shot on the 15th was too far left, leaving trees between him and the flag. Instead of laying up from 210 yards, he closed with the face of a 5-iron, aimed toward the right bunker and tried to hook it some 30 yards.
He hooked it about 40.
The ball narrowly cleared the mound at the front of the green, caught the slope and settled 6 feet away for an eagle.
“We’re not here to lay up,” Leishman said. “It’s a major. You’re going to have to take some chances at some point during the week if you want to win, and that was a time where I thought I had to take a chance. I’ve been hitting that shot well on the range and I thought it was a prime opportunity to give it a test. And it came off.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.