Morning charges for Tiger, Rahm as 84th Masters resumes

Augusta (United States) (AFP) –


Defending champion Tiger Woods was set for a morning test at Amen Corner while second-ranked Jon Rahm chased the leaders as the darkness-halted second round of the Masters resumed Saturday.

World number one Dustin Johnson, third-ranked Justin Thomas, Mexico's Abraham Ancer and Australia's Cameron Smith shared the clubhouse lead on nine-under par 135 with 47 players returning to the course to complete their second rounds.

Woods, a 15-time major winner seeking his sixth green jacket to match the record set by Jack Nicklaus, was five back on four-under for the tournament and level par in the round after 10 holes.

The former world number one opened with a four-under 68, matching his best-ever Masters start as he chases an 83rd career PGA Tour victory to break the record he shares with Sam Snead.

Woods, who turns 45 next month, restarts with a 200-yard approach shot at the par-4 11th as he faces Augusta National's formidable Amen Corner -- the famed stretch of holes from 11 to 13 that often proves crucial to deciding champions.

Last year, Woods won a major for the first time when he was not leading entering the final round, capturing the Masters to complete an epic comeback from back surgery that threatened a pain-free life much less his golf career.

Spain's Rahm and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, both chasing a first major title, were on eight-under for the tournament -- one off the lead -- with holes to play.

Rahm birdied the par-3 12th just before sunset Friday and had a bogey-free five-under round going as he returned to finish the last six holes.

"Hopefully I can finish strong as I've been playing the last two days," Rahm said.

World number 18 Matsuyama, whose best Masters finish was fifth in 2015, birdied the par-5 15th just before his round was stopped and hopes to complete a bogey-free second round that stood on four-under.

"Overall, I'm playing well," Matsuyama said. "All I can do is just go out and do my best."

In the clubhouse sharing fifth on eight-under 136 were South Korean Im Sung-jae and American Patrick Cantlay with the English trio of Tommy Fleetwood, 2016 Masters winner Danny Willett and 2016 Olympic champion Justin Rose another stroke adrift after 36 holes.

- DeChambeau could be cut -

US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau, who many feared who overwhelm Augusta National with his power-driving game, was in danger of missing the cut.

The 27-year-old American, the longest driver at the Masters with an average of 337.9 yards off the tee, had said he felt par for him was 67 instead of 72, but Augusta National has made him pay a price for such reckless words.

DeChambeau closed birdie-birdie to shoot 70 in the first round, then was foiled by a lost ball off the tee in taking a triple bogey at the par-4 third hole in his second round. Bogeys followed on the next two holes.

Sixth-ranked DeChambeau birdied the par-3 12th hole to stand one-over, two shots off the expected record-low Masters cut line of one-under.

The long-driving style DeChambeau used to crush Winged Foot in September for his first major title was on display in twilight Friday, when he blasted over left trees at the par-5 13th and set up an eagle putt, which he missed.

Fifth-ranked Rory McIlroy, needing a Masters victory to complete a career Grand Slam, completed a second-round 66 on Friday to stand on 141, six off the lead.

Fiji's Vijay Singh, the 2000 Masters champion, withdrew Saturday due to illness. Singh, 57, was 8-over for the tournament and 5-over for his second round after 10 holes.