Schwartzel, I’m top of the masters club

Former champion Charl Schwartzel cruised in gusty winds to take a share of the clubhouse top spot with Masters first-round favorite Sungjae Im.

Schwartzel, who started the second round five shots behind Im, mixed two bogeys with five birdies for a three-under 69 on Friday that left the South African three under for the tournament.

Im, who had led Australian Cameron Smith by a stroke after the first round, scored a brace on 74 to join Schwartzel safely at the clubhouse as the afternoon starters faced winds treacherous speeds of up to 50 mph at Augusta National.

Im was even through the day until bogeys on the 10th, where his approach shot missed the green, and the par-three 12th where he failed to get in and out of a greenside bunker.

But the South Korean responded with a two-foot birdie tap on the par-five 13th, and was one on the day through 14 holes.

He found the water with an aggressive approach to the par-5 15th, birdied 16 and dropped another at 18 in a wild finish to his round.

Smith, who started his round as co-leader with Im and former England winner Danny Willett, dropped two shots in his first four holes to fall two under and one stroke behind the leaders.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods had all the attention on him again, as he followed up his impressive start with some bogeys on his first three holes to open his second round at Augusta National.

Back in action this week after a car crash in February 2021 that nearly cost him his right leg, Woods sent his first tee shot into a fairway bunker, hit his approach right to the green, then didn’t failed to climb and descend to 26 meters.

The five-time Masters champion had finished the first round four shots behind Im after a par 71 one-under that left him nine shares of 10th place.

Rory McIlroy, who this week is making his eighth straight attempt to complete golf’s four major career grand slam, finished two of 14 holes and three on the week with the first scheduled cut to four over.

Among Australia’s early finishers, Cameron Davis found himself with a nervous wait to see if his 73, which left him at four over, was going to be enough to get him through to the weekend.

Marc Leishman was also four over after a second-round 75.

But Lucas Herbert looked sure to miss after his second-round 76 left him six over.

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