13 Apr 2024 | Professional golf | Tournaments | Golf Australia |

Aussie Cam-paign alive and well at The Masters

by Jimmy Emanuel

Cameron Davis at Augusta National during round two of the 88th Masters.

Australia’s hopes of a second green jacket are alive and well after Cameron Davis and Cameron Smith both played their way inside the top-10 in brutal conditions on day two of The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

Starting his second round as others completed their first, Davis looked to take advantage of the relatively benign early conditions at Augusta National before ultimately signing for even par 72 and a 3-under total.

Tied fifth at the halfway point, the Sydneysider is the best of the Aussies, three behind the leading trio of Scottie Scheffler, Bryson DeChambeau and Max Homa who are at 6-under, Nicolai Hojgaard outright fourth at 4-under.

On a day when Tiger Woods (1-over) set a new Masters record for consecutive cuts made (24), and Adam Scott extended his cut streak to 15, Davis burnt the edge at the first for birdie in an example of what could have been for the New South Welshman.

Smith is at 1-under and in a share of eighth, with Min Woo Lee and Jason Day, both 4-over, and Scott two further back. Amateur Jasper Stubbs (12-over) fell on the wrong side of the 6-over cutline.

Making his first birdie of the day at the second, and nearly another at the next when chipping with the flag out, Davis was edging closer to first round leader Bryson DeChambeau and his 7-under total.

Converting birdie from 11 feet at the par-3 sixth, Davis was 5-under and looking comfortable before an unforced error when the 29-year-old pitched into the front bunker of the seventh and walked away with double-bogey.

Recovering the shot at the next with a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-5 eighth, Davis would bogey the ninth to turn in even par.

Cam Smith

“It’s a good test out there right now. I feel like pars are good scores,” Davis said.

“I had a couple of stumbles, but I felt like I battled well and made some nice putts to keep the momentum.”

One of those moments came at 10 after Davis dropped his club in frustration following a pulled approach to the par-4. A world class pitch helped to start a par run that ended at the 13th, when Davis charged his birdie putt off the back of the green.

Davis nearly holed the comeback chip for par before tapping in for the second time on the day with the leading edge of his wedge.

Despite a brilliant 3-wood from 260 yards at the 15th, Davis walked away a little disappointed after missing a 15-footer for eagle. The subsequent birdie returned him to 3-under that was solidified with a 15-foot par putt at the last.

“I feel like 3-under in the conditions I played in, I feel pretty proud of,” he said.

Headed to put his feet up and spend the afternoon with the large family contingent in Augusta this week, Davis might have had a wry smile watching as winds picked up to the point of sand blowing from bunkers.

No one got more of that wind than Smith, who was out in Friday’s final group.

Bogeying the first, Smith got back the shot at the next and made the turn in even par. The 2022 Open champion got under par for the day when he birdied the par-3 12th only to immediately give the shot back at the 13th with a three putt.

Smith, like Davis, missed an opportunity to improve his score at the 15th when a birdie try from seven feet slipped past the hole. His renowned short game and recovery skills came to the fore for pars at 16 and from the pine straw at 17, before a two-putt par at the last.

“I’m pretty proud of the way I hung in there, it was tough,” Smith said.

Unlike the first round, when the front nine beat Min Woo Lee to the brink of internal embarrassment, the West Australian had a fairly straightforward Friday where bogeys at the first, 12th and 18th were the only blemishes on a card that had a lone birdie at the eighth.

The 25-year-old’s final dropped shot came after his tee shot struck a tree and required a hybrid for his second to the 18th hole.

Completing five holes with a 48-minute turnaround to return to the first tee for Round 2, Day disappointingly closed Round 1 with a double bogey at the 16th and another dropped shot at 18.

The highlight of the Queenslander’s second round 73 coming at the ninth when he rolled in an 11-foot birdie to turn in 1-under. Bogeys at 11 and 18 perhaps unsurprising due to the wind, early start and extra holes.

“It was nice to get in the house, especially after this morning, shoot 3-over with five holes left,” Day told Fox Sports.

“To kind of grind out 1-over in the second round was quite nice.”

Adam Scott

Scott also had extra holes to play early Friday and his hopes of a second green jacket, or even playing the weekend, took an immediate hit.

Hooking his tee shot at the 15th, the former world No.1 then found the water and an eventual double-bogey seven at the par-5, where Jordan Spieth also came unstuck with a nine in the morning.

Scott bogeying the 18th for a 4-over first round, before a second round comprising four birdies, four bogeys and what at the time appeared a missed cut deciding double-bogey six at the 11th.

Scott likely spending the afternoon stewing over missing the weekend for the first time at The Masters since 2009 before the wind took its toll on the final groups and brought the 43-year-old and other 6-overs back into the fold.

Having set the cut as his target, Stubbs made the perfect start to the second round with a birdie from seven feet at the first.

A trio of bogeys from the fourth and two more at 10 and 11, however, all but ended the dream of two more rounds at Augusta for the Asia-Pacific Amateur champion, who bravely fought back with birdies at the 14th and 16th before two bogeys and a 76.

“It’s been an amazing week,” Stubbs said. “It’s a pretty special place, and obviously the tournament was a bit tough itself with this wind.

“I’m still really happy with my week. It’s something I’ll remember forever for sure.”

The Masters is live on Fox Sports, available on Foxtel and Kayo, as well as 9GemHD and 9Now.

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