Viktor Hovland (USGA photo)
As Viktor Hovland spoke about his Masters experience so far this week, Tiger Woods was still playing his way around Augusta National. There were roars.
“You can definitely hear that Tiger's playing well,” said Hovland, who played three groups ahead of Woods on Friday. “That's pretty cool.”
For his part, Hovland played well, too. The U.S. Amateur champion, one of six amateurs to start the week at the Masters, is one of four who made the cut. At 1 under through 36 holes, Hovland is leading the race for low-amateur honors so far.
Hovland has Alan Bratton, who is his coach at Oklahoma State, on the bag this week. Bratton also caddied for Hovland at the U.S. Amateur.
Hovland’s second-round 71 included birdies at Nos. 2 and 10, and an eagle at No. 13.
“Obviously you try not to think too much about the cut, but it is there,” Hovland said. “If you don't play well the first two rounds, you're not going to be able to play the weekend. But I kind of view it as, I played two rounds, there's still two more to go and … I don't really like to set goals. I just have been out here trying to have fun and try to play the best I can.”
Hovland said Friday that his earliest Masters memories from growing up in Norway were of Adam Scott’s win in 2013. Scott ended the day as one of five co-leaders at 7 under.
As for other amateur competition, Alvaro Ortiz, the Latin America Amateur winner, is one shot behind Hovland at even par. Ortiz also had a 71 on Friday.
Ortiz eagled the par-5 15th on Friday after getting off to a slow start.
“I came out here with a mentality of, I want the Green Jacket and everything, but at some point in the round today I thought it was getting out of hand and I thought I was losing my game and I wasn't going to be able to make the cut,” he said. “But I found something on 14 and glad I hit that great shot on 14 and 15 and on 18, and that 4 under in the last five holes really helped me to get some confidence going for the weekend.”
The other two players who made the cut were UCLA sophomore Devon Bling, who memorably aced the seventh hole in Wednesday’s Par 3 Contest, and Asia-Pacific Amateur champion Takumi Kanaya.
Kevin O’Connell, the U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, rebounded from an opening 77 with a final-round 71 and missed playing the weekend by one shot.
ABOUT THE The Masters
One of Golf's four professional majors
traditionally invites amateurs who have reached
finals of the US Amateur, or won the British
the US Mid Amateur. Also included are
the winners of the relatively new Asia Pacific
and Latin American Amateur.
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