Masters Day 2 Recap and Day 3 Preview: Mother Nature Is Victorious At Augusta, Slow Play Irks Tyrell and Another Windy Day Ahead

Masters Day 2 Recap and Day 3 Preview: Mother Nature Is Victorious At Augusta, Slow Play Irks Tyrell and Another Windy Day Ahead

PGA Tour events typically chase good weather year-round, often kicking off the season in sunny Hawaii before moving on to the west coast and Florida swings. It's a rare sight to see a PGA tour player donning a jumper or contending with notable winds, except for their annual outings to the Scottish Open and the Open Championship. The combination of strong winds and Augusta's firm, fast greens makes for a captivating spectacle. Who wants to witness a birdie fest anyway? Bring on the doubles and triples; let's watch these pampered, sun-chasing pros endure some challenges.

The criticism from players like Jon Rahm, who called out organizers for not halting play in 40mph winds, underscores the difficulty of the conditions. Rahm mentioned the excessive sand on the 18th green during his approach, a struggle that Tiger Woods experienced. Woods, facing a crucial putt to finish his round and to make his 24th consecutive cut at Augusta, had to repeatedly step back and shield his eyes from the blowing sand. Yet, to his credit, he managed to sink the putt – after all, what's a bit of sand to someone seemingly held together by tape?

Tyrell Hatton has repeatedly provided sportswriters with ample reason to pen negative critiques of him, thanks to his penchant for cursing, throwing clubs, and general whinging. However, nothing quite shifts the narrative like criticism of slow play, particularly when the guilty party includes Patrick Reed. Hatton appeared shocked that it took 32 holes for the group ahead of him to be put on the clock. He mentioned they lost "a hole and a half" in the first round and were "just brutal" during the second round as well. Here's hoping Hatton catches a break from slow play over the weekend, as rounds 72 and 74 see him through to the weekend.

Looking ahead to moving day, on Thursday morning, we tipped Rory McIlroy, Joaquin Niemann EW, as well as Xander Schauffle EW, with Corey Conners for a top 20 finish. We also gave two outside chances to Ludvig Aberg and Matthieu Pavon. In typical fashion, the outsiders are leading the way for our picks at the halfway point, with Aberg and Pavon playing some really nice golf in tough conditions. All of them have made the cut, giving us a chance to cash in on a couple of them.

Both Niemann and McIlroy struggled yesterday, shooting 78 and 77 respectively. Niemann played Amen Corner at +3, finding the water on the difficult 11th hole, costing him a double bogey. He had a seat on the bogey train on the way home but closed on a positive note with a birdie on the difficult 18th hole. McIlroy's round was a lot less eventful; he too found the water at 11, costing him a double bogey. He made no birdies, and the typically high-hitting Irishman found the going tough. Both Niemann and McIlroy will need to turn their form around over the weekend to feature at the business end of the table, but I think a 10-shot gap is just too big to close.

Corey Conners looked to be having a solid round going until a poor chip led to a three-putt on 10 and a double bogey. He followed this up by going into the water on 11, costing him another double. He's hit just two bad shots in two days, and I'm sure he'll begin moving in the right direction on moving day and into Sunday.

Xander Schauffle has played some really consistent and solid golf, with two rounds of 72 leaving him poised to make a push over the weekend. In conditions that may see the leaders start to move backward rather than forward, I feel like Xander's flat ball flight will aid him in staying out of too much trouble. If he can begin to make a few more putts, he might be pulling on the green jacket come Sunday.

Lastly, here's hoping both Aberg and Pavon continue to push forward over the weekend. Our two outsiders have played some incredible golf over the first two days. Aberg somehow managed to roll in six birdies while just giving three back, giving him the only round in the 60s of the day. Nothing surprises me with the kid anymore; he's definitely got a couple of majors in his future, but whether this week is the week, let's just wait and see. Pavon has played some great golf this week too, but unfortunately, we haven't seen much of him on the TV coverage. He has kept the double bogeys off his card, which is key to succeeding at Augusta. With him going off at 200/1, I won't get ahead of myself just yet, but his odds have shortened considerably, and he'll be incredibly driven to become France's first major winner in over 100 years.

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