Masters 2021: Justin Rose claims halfway lead as defending champion Dustin Johnson bows out, plus day two leaderboard

Justin Rose recovered from a poor start to claim a slender halfway lead in the 85th Masters as defending champion Dustin Johnson made an early exit at Augusta National.

EARLY EXIT: For defending champion Dustin Johnson. Picture: Getty Images.

Rose was four shots clear following a brilliant 65 on a tough opening day when just two other players broke 70, but saw that advantage wiped out after covering his first 12 holes in three over.

Three birdies in the next four holes took Rose back out in front and a second round of 72 kept the 2013 US Open champion in pole position in pursuit of a second major title.

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At seven under par, Rose was a shot ahead of Brian Harman and Will Zalatoris, with 2015 champion Jordan Spieth and Australia’s Marc Leishman a stroke further back.

LEADER: Justin Rose. Picture: Getty Images.

World number two Justin Thomas was part of a six-strong group on four under, but Johnson bogeyed the 17th and 18th to miss the cut by two, while Rory McIlroy also bowed out after a 74.

Rose got off to a shaky start with a pushed drive on the first and had to chip out sideways, although he responded to the resulting bogey with a birdie on the par-five second.

A bogey on the 247-yard par-three fourth was followed by two more on the sixth and seventh and Rose’s overnight lead had fully disappeared when Bernd Wiesberger made his seventh birdie of the day on the 15th.

Leishman then briefly moved into the outright lead with his own birdie on 15, but Rose dug deep and birdied the 13th, 14th and 16th to edge back in front.

“The finger was getting closer to the button,” joked Rose, who said not panicking after being two over through seven holes of his first round had been the key to Thursday’s heroics.

“It was a tough start today, poor tee shot on number one and had to chip out sideways, and then from that moment on, for the first six or seven holes I just kept leaving the ball on the greens but in really tough spots.

“I felt like I really hung in well and weathered that period of the round. Just little things were going wrong but didn’t hit the panic button and really pleased to turn it around.”

Spieth, who ended almost four years without a win in the Valero Texas Open last week, birdied three of his last six holes to add a 68 to his opening 71.

Thomas birdied all three holes around Amen Corner and was six under for the day playing the last, only to three-putt from 25 feet for a 67.

“Mad is an understatement of how I’m feeling right now, it’s a putt I’m looking to make and I three-putt it, you just can’t give up shots like that,” Thomas said.

“I played really, really well today. To almost go bogey-free round this place is great. The greens were substantially more soft today.”

Wiesberger made a flying start with birdies on the first three holes and picked up further shots on the fifth and eighth to race to the turn in 31.

The 35-year-old also birdied the 10th and recovered from his only bogey of the day on the 12th with a birdie on the 15th on his way to a superb 66.

US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau followed an opening 76 with a 67 to reach one under par, while Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre comfortably made the cut on his tournament debut after adding a 70 to his opening 74 to finish level.

“Yesterday the nerves, I was shaking on the first tee,” the left-hander admitted. “It’s normal here, but I wanted to get right back in the golf tournament. That’s what I went and done.”

Leaderboard

1. Justin Rose -7

2. Brian Harman -6

2. Will Zalatoris -6

4. Marc Leishman -5

4. Jordan Spieth -5

6. Bernd Wiesberger -4

6. Tony Finau -4

6. Hideki Matsuyama -4

6. Justin Thomas -4

6. Si Woo Kim -4

6. Cameron Champ -4

12. Xander Schauffele -3

13. Ryan Palmer -2 14:20

13. Cameron Smith -2

13. Corey Conners -2

13. Collin Morikawa -2

17. Stewart Cink -1

17. Matt Jones -1

17. Bryson DeChambeau -1

17. Viktor Hovland -1

21. Henrik Stenson Par

21. Bubba Watson Par

21. Shane Lowry Par

21. Tommy Fleetwood Par

21. Michael Thompson Par

21. Brendon Todd Par

21. Mackenzie Hughes Par

21. Matthew Fitzpatrick Par

21. Abraham Ancer Par

21. Jon Rahm Par

21. Robert MacIntyre Par

32. Charl Schwartzel +1

32. Kevin Na +1

32. Martin Laird +1

32. Gary Woodland +1

32. Tyrrell Hatton +1

32. Patrick Reed +1

32. Harris English +1

32. Scottie Scheffler +1

40. Louis Oosthuizen +2

40. Webb Simpson +2

40. Jim Herman +2

40. José Maria Olazabal +2

40. Christiaan Bezuidenhout +2

40. Matt Wallace +2

40. Joaquin Niemann +2

47. Phil Mickelson +3

47. Ian Poulter +3

47. Adam Scott +3

47. Francesco Molinari +3

47. Paul Casey +3

47. Billy Horschel +3

47. Jason Kokrak +3

47.Sebastian Munoz +3

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