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Saturday May 25, 2024

Masters co-leaders summon patience to battle windy Augusta

DeChambeau credited his patient approach and ability to stick to his game plan even when the course bared its teeth

By Reuters
April 14, 2024
American professional golfer Bryson DeChambeau. — AFP/File
American professional golfer Bryson DeChambeau. — AFP/File

AUGUSTA, Georgia: While Bryson DeChambeau would surely have loved to tighten his overnight grip on the Masters lead on Friday, he and fellow halfway co-leaders Max Homa and Scottie Scheffler all breathed a sigh of relief after navigating winds that caused havoc for many.

On a day when wind gusts whipped through Augusta National and only eight players managed to break par, DeChambeau credited his patient approach and ability to stick to his game plan even when the course bared its teeth.

"I've never experienced Augusta National in these conditions before," DeChambeau said after carding a one-over par 73 that brought him to six under on the week and level with Homa (71) and world number one Scheffler (72).

"Being able to stay patient and place the ball in the correct locations and just allow myself to be okay with not so great shots out there was a key aspect of me playing well."

LIV Golf's DeChambeau had a chance to retain the outright lead but missed a six-foot birdie putt at the penultimate hole and then three-putted for bogey at the last after his approach shot landed 65 feet from the hole.

In the past, DeChambeau may have stewed over the missed chances, but the 2020 U.S. Open champion has a new mindset and is preferring to maintain a positive outlook as he heads into the weekend seeking a second major title.

"Look, I felt like could I have finished birdie, par and been at eight under. Didn't happen. That's in the past," said DeChambeau.

"Playing great golf. Golf swing is in an awesome place. Putting is in a great place. Chipping is in a great place. Just have to be smart around this place and give myself an opportunity come the back nine on Sunday."

Homa, making his fifth Masters appearance, was alone atop the leaderboard at times during the second round and had just one bogey on his card while posting one of the few under-par rounds of the day.

The 33-year-old American was unable to pull away but knows his patience helped him earn his first 36-hole lead/co-lead in a major championship.

"Quite difficult out there," said Homa. "I feel like this - these conditions have helped almost lean into the patience and all the things you hear, the cliches. So I feel like I've done a great job of that and then hit some good shots alongside that."

Pre-tournament favourite Scheffler, making his fifth Masters appearance, leaned on his experience at Augusta National and was content to settle for pars rather than risk disaster by chasing a low score that was not in the offering.