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Masters 2015: Jordan Spieth in record breaking form to blow away rivals

By Kevin Garside

At some point the conventional 21-year-old inside Jordan Spieth might make himself known. You know the one - callow, tentative, insecure. That is how the field must have felt yesterday as Spieth continued his remarkable rampage across Augusta National.

Spieth has turned the Masters into a Tiger Who? event ­- and, believe me, that is some achievement, given the overwhelming nature of the Woods obsession, which obliterated interest in almost everything else until this kid engaged the afterburners.

Spieth is cloaked in an atmosphere of preternatural calm and emits an aura that is beginning to control the environment.

His rivals see him coming and already know what to expect. That is serious Tiger territory.

His playing partner Billy Horschel remarked that a tape recorder would be handy on the default setting "nice hole, Jordan".

Humour was his way of dealing with the erosion of his prospects as Spieth went about the dismantling of a difficult golf course.

Yesterday, as Spieth strode out on to the practice range an hour before his 10am tee time, he was applauded by the players as well as the galleries.

This is the star-making process in real time, the new face of American golf being carved out of Masters stone before our very eyes.

And there was no Masters meltdown after his stunning opening round. In fact, it was business as usual.

Spieth carded the lowest halfway total in Masters history to take a massive step closer to a first major title.

He added a second round of 66 to his opening 64 to post a total of 130, one shot better than the previous best set by Ray Floyd in 1976.

That also equalled the 36-hole record in any major shared by Nick Faldo, Brandt Snedeker and Martin Kaymer, and at 14 under is the lowest 36-hole score in relation to par.

Faldo was 12 under on his way to winning the 1992 Open at Muirfield, with Snedeker and Kaymer 10 under at the 2012 Open and 2014 US Open respectively. Spieth was runner-up here last year and came into the week having finished first, second, and second in his last three events.

"I have been on my game and coming to a place that I love," Spieth said.

"It's special to be here and just be in the tournament let alone out front.

"I just need to keep my head down, set a goal for myself. It's definitely going to be more challenging and I am going to have to be aware of that and be okay with a bogey or two.

"I pretty much made everything that was in a decent range today. All in all it was two very similar days - putting the ball well and taking my chances. I felt the swing felt natural today and I'll keep working on it.

"It will be somewhat challenging (not thinking about winning) but I have to set a goal for myself. Charley Hoffman is playing solid golf so I certainly can't let up and the course will get tougher."

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were reduced to the status of also-rans.

Woods was three under for his round and two under overall in just his third start of the year, the 14-time major winner having recorded a career-worst 82 in the first and withdrawing through injury after 11 holes of the second.

World number one McIlroy was bidding to become the sixth player to complete the career grand slam, but found himself 12 off the pace as he set off and was soon in a battle to make the weekend.

American Charley Hoffman bogeyed the 18th to card a 68 and finish nine under par, leaving Spieth five shots clear.

Ernie Els was refusing to give up hope of catching Spieth despite being nine adrift after adding a 72 to his opening 67.

"Jordan is playing unbelievably well and obviously we're all watching the leaderboard," Els said.

"But we know how far there is to go. Front runners tend to do well here, but there have been some really good comebacks. I'd really like to shoot two 67s and see where that leaves me. That'd make me 15 under and that's about as good as a man can do.

"If it keeps blowing like this and the nerves get going... I don't want to wish badly on anyone but if he takes his foot off the gas or has a bad break here and there, it really gives you thought of catching him."

Belfast Telegraph


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