/Jason Day and Adam Scott share lead at Masters, Tiger charges despite trip

Jason Day and Adam Scott share lead at Masters, Tiger charges despite trip

Updated

April 13, 2019 10:56:33

Jason Day has overcome a back injury to take a share of the lead at the US Masters after shooting a second-round 67, joining fellow Australian Adam Scott at the top of a congested leaderboard as Tiger Woods overcame a security guard’s slide-tackle to finish just one shot back.

Key points:

  • Adam Scott and Jason Day are in a five-way tie for the lead after two rounds
  • Day credits his chiropractor after suffering a back injury during the first round
  • Tiger Woods was slide-tacked by a security guard, sits in a tie for second

Day fired his way to the top only a day after battling crippling back pain at Augusta.

The Queenslander, who received medical treatment on course beside the second hole on Thursday, came out firing on Friday with a round of 5-under par, rocketing him to seven under.

Day and Scott were joined in the clubhouse lead by British Open winner Francesco Molinari (67), Brooks Koepka (71) and Louis Oosthuzien (66).

Dustin Johnson (70) and Justin Harding (69) were a shot behind at 6-under, alongside four-time Masters winner Woods, who is sitting ominously just behind the leaders as he hunts a first major since the 2008 US Open.

Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith (both even par) rounded out the Australian contingent at the April major.

‘It’s a great position’

Scott, the 2013 Masters winner, surged up the leaderboard thanks in no small part to a spectacular eagle at the 15th.

That shot momentarily launched Scott past countryman Day into the outright lead, before a three-putt on the next hole brought him back level.

US Masters Leaderboard — Second Round

T1 Adam Scott (AUS) -7
T1 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) -7
T1 Francesco Molinari (ITA) -7
T1 Jason Day (AUS) -7
T1 Brooks Koepka (USA) -7
T6 Justin Harding (RSA) -6
T6 Xander Schauffele (USA) -6
T6 Tiger Woods (USA) -6
T6 Dustin Johnson (USA) -6

As rain lashed Augusta, severe weather forced a 40-minute delay, after which Scott returned to fire a 231-yard second shot onto the green at the par-five hole.

Scott then knocked in the eagle putt to move to eight under par.

However the South Australian missed a short par putt on the par-three 16th — the bogey dropping him back into a tie for the lead at seven under alongside Day.

Scott, who has never led at Augusta despite winning the green jacket in 2013, was happy with his round.

“It’s a great position to be in,” he said.

“It’s a bunched leader board … if someone decides to break away on the weekend I’m in a good spot to run with them.”

‘Suck it up’

Day said he had his chiropractor working tirelessly on his back on Thursday night and Friday morning to get him ready to play through the injury.

It worked wonders as he appeared to be in considerably less pain while putting together a round that was nearly flawless, although Day said his wife Ellie deserved just as much credit for his remarkable recovery.

“I was moping a little bit in the bath, and Ellie said, ‘It’s the Masters, you need to suck it up’.

“I can’t complain because she’s birthed three children and I haven’t, so she’s a lot stronger as a person than me; I just hit a little white golf ball around a course.”

Day defied crippling back pain to be in contention after the first round — somehow posting a 2-under par 70 to finish day one just four shots from the lead despite aggravating his chronic back injury and needing medical treatment just five shots in.

The 31-year-old’s management confirmed Day aggravated his ongoing back injury when he leant down to kiss daughter Lucy on Augusta’s practice putting green on Thursday morning.

Day walked slowly and winced over every shot during the first round, but battled through to remain in contention, claiming after the second round that the injury might just be a blessing in disguise.

“Everyone is talking about my back … [but] everything loosened up nicely.

“The Masters, how big it is and the distraction of wanting to win this tournament so bad, it [the back injury] is almost a blessing in disguise.

“It just brings down the expectation of going out there and trying too hard.”

The Queenslander withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month, citing an annular tear in a disc in his back, which required him to have four cortisone injections around his spine.

He was a final-round chance to win at the Players Championship the following week and tied for eighth, but missed the cut at the Valspar Championship a week later and failed to advance from the group stage at the WGC-Match Play.

Tiger surges despite trip

Tiger Woods claimed last year that even getting onto the course at Augusta National was a “miracle” considering his back troubles.

But since then he has shown more than a glimmer of his once-spellbinding form, and has placed himself firmly in contention with a commanding 68 in his second round to remain a shot behind the leaders at 6-under par.

“It was fun,” Woods said after the round, before saying he was confident on how he was striking the ball ahead of the weekend.

“Three [majors] in a row, I’ve been right in the mix,” Woods added, building on his second place at last year’s PGA Championships.

The round was not without incident however, as Woods’s charge was almost derailed by the errant foot of an overenthusiastic law enforcement officer at the 14th.

After hitting a fantastic approach shot from deep in the rough after a wild, hooking tee shot, Woods — and a packed viewing gallery — raced out to check on the ball’s progress.

In an attempt to stop the crowd from bunching too close to golf’s biggest drawcard, security personnel scrambled to maintain some kind of cordon.

However, one security guard failed to take into account the slippery conditions, and slid into Woods, effecting a sliding tackle more commonly seen on the football field than the golf course.

“Accidents happen, we move on,” Woods said of the incident, confirming he suffered no major damage from the guard’s boot.

Woods initially skipped away as the golfing world collectively held its breath, but showed no ill effects during the remainder of his round and was just an inch from a share of the lead when he left a 15-foot putt short on the final green.

ABC/AAP

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First posted

April 13, 2019 10:31:31