April 13, 2019 / 12:45 AM / 6 days ago

Eagle lands for Scott as Australian ties for halfway Masters lead

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters when he took the Green Jacket in 2013 and he was back in unfamiliar territory at Augusta National on Friday when he ended the second round tied at the top of the leaderboard.

Golf - Masters - Augusta National Golf Club - Augusta, Georgia, U.S. - April 12, 2019 - Adam Scott of Australia finishes on the 18th hole during second round play. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

His five-way share of the lead marked the first time Scott has either led or co-lead after 18, 36 or 54 holes at Augusta National. He lurked close to the lead in 2013 before timing his run to beat Angel Cabrera in a playoff.

On Friday, it was a mighty two-iron at the 15th hole that gave Scott a taste of the lead.

His drive found the fairway at the par five, leaving him 230 yards from the hole when play was halted because of rain. During a 40-minute delay the wind shifted into his face, making for a much more precarious shot over the pond guarding the green.

He thought it through and decided not to go for the smart option.

“My shot got significantly longer, and it was now instead of a four-iron, it was now a two-iron, and I was thinking whether I should be smart and lay it up or not,” he told reporters.

“I had that discussion with the caddie, but it was kind of a perfect number for a two-iron, if there is such a thing, on 15 at Augusta, and hit a great shot, which set up an eagle.

“These are the kind of momentum things that you have to sometimes make happen to put yourself in a good position. When you’re swinging well, you have to go for it. I don’t know if it was the smartest decision, but it certainly paid off.”

The eagle took Scott into the sole lead at eight-under par, but he missed a three-foot par putt at the next hole and squandered a great birdie chance at the last.

He shot 68 to join compatriot Jason Day, American Brooks Koepka, Italian Francesco Molinari and South African Louis Oosthuizen at seven-under 137, with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson among a group one behind.

“I think it’s going to be an incredible weekend no matter what happens now,” said the 38-year-old.

“There are so many great players in with a chance, and I think my game plan has to be the same as where I started the week.

“I wanted my ball‑striking to kind of show up this week a little more than it has any other week this year, and it looks like it has.

“I’m tied for the lead in the Masters. You can’t ask to be in a better position.

“I believe I’ve got the game to match it with everyone these days. It’s always a knife edge on who comes out on top of these things.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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