Spieth retains lead at the Masters

Jordan Spieth kept hold of a one-shot lead at the Masters despite carding a two-over-par 74 on Friday. 

Spieth, who is on four-under, was troubled by the blustery conditions and thus recorded his first over-par round in the 10 rounds he has played at Augusta National. The world number two is closely followed by world number three Rory McIlroy, who is one stroke back on three-under. 

McIlroy stumbled towards the end of his first round on Thursday, but despite enduring some turbulent periods on Friday, he was just one of four players to register an under-par round. 

Danny Lee and Scott Piercy are in a tie for third on two-under, while Jason Day trails Spieth by five strokes as he is in a tie for 15th on one-over. 

Meanwhile, a number of high-profile players failed to make the cut, including three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, who was playing in his last Masters, world number five Rickie Fowler and reigning Open Championship winner Zach Johnson. 

Spieth, who became only the second player after the legendary Arnold Palmer to lead through six consecutive rounds at the Masters, began his second round with a 14-foot birdie putt at the first and went on to record another one at the third. 

However, his stellar start would be sullied by a double bogey at the fifth. Despite the setback, Spieth bounced back with his third birdie of the round at the eighth before faltering once again with a bogey to end the front nine. 

The world number two’s struggles continued as he made another bogey at the 10th before converting a two-foot birdie putt at the 15th. The 22-year-old failed to end his round on a bright note like he did on Thursday as consecutive bogeys at the 16th and 17th snapped up under-par streak at the Masters. 

McIlroy climbed up seven spots on the leaderboard after firing a one-under-par 71, which began with him making successive birdies at the second and third. The Ulsterman failed to maintain his momentum though as a double bogey and bogey followed at the next two holes. 

Despite starting the back nine with a bogey at the 11th, McIlroy shifted his game to the next level and took advantage of Spieth’s struggles towards the end of his round. The world number three began his charge with a birdie at the 13th before registering back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th, where he converted an incredible 39-foot putt. Following his strong finish, McIlroy occupies second place on the leaderboard and is within touching distance of Spieth. 

Lee slipped down one spot on the leaderboard following his round of 74, which saw him make three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey at the par-four third. Piercy on the other hand surged up six places after a level-par 72, which consisted of three birdies and three bogeys. 

Meanwhile, Day, who carded a 73, is also in contention despite being five strokes adrift of the lead. The world number one, who has triumphed in his last two tournaments – the Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-Dell Match Play – enjoyed a lot of success on the front nine despite starting with a bogey at the first as he atoned for his mistake with a trio of birdies. 

However, despite starting strong, the Australian was unable to maintain his red-hot form during the back nine as he recorded three bogeys. 

Hideki Matsuyama continues to lead the way for the Asian contingent as he is in a tie for fifth after firing a level-par 72. Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is making his Masters debut, continued to impress on Friday as he registered his second consecutive round of 72, but his compatriot Thongchai Jaidee plunged down 21 spots after a disappointing round of 76. India’s Anirban Lahiri meanwhile managed to make the cut as he followed his first-round 76 with a 73.