Rogue Brooks Koepka in first place, amateur champion Sam Bennett in a strong third place and Tiger Woods with a chance to make the cut – the stories at the legendary Augusta Masters are numerous.
But the best news before the weekend was: Nobody is injured. Nobody died. As the conditions deteriorated with storm and rain, three large pine trees fell near runway 17 and just missed numerous spectators. TV footage shows what an eyewitness also reported: A woman was standing between two of the massive trees when they hit the ground lengthwise. It was “really a miracle,” said golf fan Katie Waites about the scene.
Golf pro Harrison Crowe was standing on hole 16 when the pine trees slowly tipped over with a loud crack. “You could feel it down there, there was this little tornado coming,” his caddy, John Serhan, told an Australian news agency. “It grabbed those trees. You saw them start to sway. They were lucky nobody died. Good luck.”
Tournament canceled – resume on Saturday
As the organizers announced about 90 minutes after the shock, there was no information about injuries. How close it was was shown by a few destroyed folding and camping chairs, on which golf fans romp in droves along the beautifully situated holes at the Augusta National Golf Club and follow the action. Even before the tree fell, the Masters had been interrupted for 21 minutes due to the risk of thunderstorms and lightning. When the trees were down, the organizers first interrupted the traditional event in the US state of Georgia again before finally making the decision to end the day. At 2:00 p.m. German time on Saturday, the second round should be played to the end – superstar Woods and last year’s winner Scottie Scheffler had not yet finished their round.
However, the prospects for the weekend are not good either, according to the forecast it should rain and be around 20 degrees colder than on Friday morning when Koepka started his second round in bright sunshine – and played even better than the day before. Twelve under par, he walked into the clubhouse and fueled the debate over whether a player from the heavily criticized Saudi-funded LIV could get the green jacket for the Masters win.
The fuss would be even greater if Bennett maintained his sensational performance until Sunday and caught up the four strokes behind. The 23-year-old is US amateur champion and after 36 holes he hasn’t been an amateur since 1956. Between Koepka and him lies the Spaniard Jon Rahm, who is three shots short of the top.
Woods has to earn the right to start the third round in the expected cool temperatures. He’s still missing the last seven holes on round two, on the shared 50th place with two strokes over par the cut is in danger. He still managed to do that in his 24 previous Masters participations – including last year, his first participation since the serious car accident.