Ian Poulter And Lee Westwood Lead Masters After Second Round

April 9th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

After the completion of Friday’s round at the Masters, two Englishman stand together atop the leader board at Augusta National.  Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter navigated their way through a much more difficult golf course in the second round, to get to 8-under par through 36 holes, two shots clear of Tiger Woods.

Westwood started out hot early, tabbing an eagle at No.2 and was four under par through his first seven holes.  Around Amen corner, Westwood picked up two more birdies, but the world No.4 ranked player recorded a costly double-bogey on No. 14, and then proceeded to record a bogey on the home hole on No.18.

Poulter took advantage of the par-5’s on the back, making birdies on both No.13 and No.15 en route to a second consecutive round of 68, but also bogeyed the closing hole.

“It’s a good start,” said Poulter in a post-round interview. “Certainly the way I played today, the number of chances I had on the golf course with the pins as difficult as they are, I was pleased to give myself so many chances. It’s one of the best rounds of golf I’ve played in a while.”

Woods followed up a brilliant 68 yesterday with a round of 70, to position himself in third place, and in the second-to-last group tomorrow, teeing off at 2:35pm Est.

Woods began the Masters after a 144-day absence from the game, following a single-car accident and an infidelity scandal that shocked the world.

Woods recorded three birdies and one bogey on the day, but made several critical putts to keep the momentum of his round going.

“It feels good to be back in contention,” Woods said in a post-round conference. “I’ve put myself in contention most years here. This year, I’m right there. We’ve got 36 more holes and I’m sure the golf course, they’re not going to make it easy for us.”

K.J Choi was playing with Woods and equaled his two-round total at 6-under par, and will be paired with Woods again on Saturday.  Choi carded a 71 on Friday and will be comfortable with the pairing with Woods heading into Saturday.

Phi Mickelson is also at 6-under par, after a round of 71, and is in position to make a run on moving day.

First-round leader Fred Couples recorded a round of 75 on Friday, and fell to 3-under par, but is still very much a contender.  The 50-year-old Couples struggled with back pain all day, as he has throughout his career.

“Not a whole lot of fun at the moment. That’s just the way it is,” said Couples, who’s been bothered by persistent back problems in his career. “I woke up and, to be honest, I didn’t think I’d be able to play very good at all today.”

All eyes will continue to be on Woods this weekend, as he has put himself in position to win.

“It feels good. It feels really good,” said Woods after his round.

“It feels good to be back and in contention. I usually put myself in contention most of the time most years here, and this year I’m right there.”

Woods remains the betting favorite to win the 2010 Masters, looking for his fifth career green jacket, which would put him alone in second all-time, behind Jack Nicklaus, who has six.

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