Hoffman leads but Spieth lingers at the Masters

Dustin Johnson Injured World No.1 out of Masters 2017

The swaying trees should stand still. It's the same deficit he faced after 36 holes in 2011, when he caught fire on Sunday with birdies on his final four holes, the first time that ever happened in Masters history.

For those who enjoy the suffering of others, Charley Hoffman's Friday round was your cup of mean tea. None of those four were still in the lead after Saturday's play, though Aaron shot a final-round 68 to win his only major title.

Willett knew he needed some help from the "golfing gods" to avoid suffering the same fate as 2003 champion Mike Weir, but his long wait ultimately proved in vain - although he will stay until Sunday to present his successor with their green jacket.

"After the first round I couldn't ask for much better than this", Spieth said.

"There are other times I've shot bad weekends and went the other way". Behind him at 1-under are Jon Rahm, Ryan Moore, 57-year-old Fred Couples, and Justin Rose. While it still leaves the one-time top-ranked player in the world with work to do to make an impact on the championship, Day's happy to see some good scoring on his card.

"Anybody who makes the cut can win, " said Ernie Els. His best finishes to date are two second place finishes at The Open Championship and the PGA Championship, a third place finish at the U.S Open, and a T4 finish in Augusta back in 2004. You play in wind, you play tough pin placements, really fast greens, and a great golf course. "When you do that, you're playing defense, putting down those hills". He was later joined in that leadership role by Sergio Garcia. I don't have the thing I need to have, " when it comes to wining majors.

Mickelson, a five-time major champion vying for a fourth Augusta victory, struggled late to shoot 73 and was another stroke adrift sharing 10th on 144 but confident he could claim his first victory since winning the British Open. Could it really come here? Spieth shot a 69 on Friday that included birdies on three of his last six holes to move into a tie for 10th, just 4 strokes back of the leaders.

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Phil Mickelson hits from a bunker on the 17th hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 7, 2017, in Augusta, Ga.

Eyes will be peeled at the trio tied for 10th at even par 144, all past Masters champions: three-time victor Phil Mickelson (73), who admittedly made a mess of the finish with three bogeys in his last six holes; 2015 champion Jordan Spieth (69), who played his last six holes bogey-free, with three birdies; and 2013 champion Adam Scott (69), who joined Spieth and Couples in making a birdie at the last. "I had that [early] cushion and it freed me up to go after some shots". "It was a hard, difficult day". It was obvious there in the end.

"I'm a competitor, so I like to believe in myself", Couples said.

"We're in a position now where we can go out there and win this thing and certainly make a run", Spieth said. The drama began even before the tournament with a course evacuation on Monday due to a weather warning followed by another on Wednesday which also saw the famous Par-3 Contest abandoned. "I don't feel there's any chance of competing", he said.

"So we are all dressed in light color trousers and blue sweaters, so I can see why they might have made the mistake".

Mickelson had five birdies and six bogeys but at the age of 46, believes he's got a fourth green jacket in his future.