Day leads; Tiger stumbles

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GOLF / Guan Tianlang makes cut despite slow-play penalty

PICTURE OF CONCENTRATION:Jason Day (left) lines up a shot even as Padraig Harrington, who missed the cut, looks on.—- PHOTO: AFP
PICTURE OF CONCENTRATION:Jason Day (left) lines up a shot even as Padraig Harrington, who missed the cut, looks on.—- PHOTO: AFP

A Masters second round that tested how top golfers handle adversity saw Tiger Woods stumble, Jason Day take the lead and teen Guan Tianlang make the cut despite a rare slow-play penalty.

Day, hoping to be Australia’s first Masters champion, shot a four-under par 68 to stand on six-under 138 and take a one-stroke lead over compatriot Marc Leishman and Fred Couples, trying at 53 to become the oldest Major winner.

“It’s a hard course out there,” Couples said. “They put most of the pins in, I thought, really hard spots.”

Breaking Australia’s Masters jinx, a hex best known by the frustrations of Greg Norman’s near misses, weighs on Day’s mind as he looks down on the rest of his rivals as the weekend looms.

Top-ranked Woods took a share of the lead late before a demoralising setback at the par-5 15th when his ball hit the flagstick and went into a water hazard. He shot a 71 to stand on 141, among 26 sub-par players within five of the lead.

Woods, a 14-time Major champion chasing the all-time record of 18 Majors won by Jack Nicklaus, seeks his first Major title since the 2008 US Open and first Masters victory since capturing his fourth green jacket in 2005.

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese schoolboy who became the youngest player in Masters history, became the first player in a Major to be assessed a slow-play penalty since France’s Gregory Bourdy at the 2010 PGA championship.

After being warned and having his pace timed, Guan was given the penalty stroke for a bogey at 17, putting him on the eventual cut line and forcing him to wait until the last group finished to know if he would play on the weekend.

Guan finished on 75 in the second round and on four-over 148 for 36 holes, right on the limit that included 61 players within 10 strokes of the lead.

A day after 45 players fired par or better, wind and tougher pin positions over the 7,435-yard layout kept the world’s top golfers struggling simply to hold their positions.

Top scores: Second round: 138: Jason Day (70-68); 139: Fred Couples (68-71), Marc Leishman (66-73); 140: Angel Cabrera (71-69), Jim Furyk (69-71), Brandt Snedeker (70-70); 141: Adam Scott (69-72), Jason Dufner (72-69), David Lynn (68-73), Lee Westwood (70-71), Justin Rose (70-71), KJ Choi (70-71), Tiger Woods (70-71); 142: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (68-74), Bernhard Langer (71-71), Sergio Garcia (66-76), Rory McIlroy (72-70), Charl Schwartzel (71-71), John Senden (72-70). — AFP

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