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McGirt making move at Augusta, top players eye leader Hoffman

McGirt making move at Augusta, top players eye leader Hoffman

" I was frustrated (in 2012) but I probably didn't accept things as well as I should have", he said. The group at 1-under 143 included Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose (72), Couples (70) and Spanish rookie Jon Rahm, who had a 70 and looms as a threat to become the first Masters rookie to win since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Also in the one-under crowd were Spaniard Jon Rahm, five-time major victor Phil Mickelson and England's Justin Rose, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

A month later he finished second in the US PGA Championship at the age of 19, but has since recorded a further 21 top-10 finishes without claiming a maiden major title.

"I don't even know how many there are, but so many majors in a row and giving myself a lot of chances to win them", Garcia said, "that for me is already a win". However, Pieters is a guy that you don't want to sleep on. "So that right there just kind of gives me chills, because after yesterday I was really disappointed in being 10 shots off the lead". "Put it all together, you have an unbelievable place". Sergio Garcia (-4) T1.

Five years ago, Garcia walked off Augusta National after a third-round 75 and told reporters: "I'm not good enough". I just hit it in a very bad spot on one.

The 2015 US PGA Championship victor is optimistic about clawing his way back into contention with favourable weather forecasted for the third round. Could it really come here?

"I saw it on the leaderboard on the 13th but the main thing was I knew where I stood", Garcia said.

For the first time, he leads at the end of one. After rallying from a four-hole deficit with five holes remaining to win the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, he kept up his strong play at Augusta National with a 3-over 147 that easily sent him through to the final two rounds. He was sharp for two days, and he'd be in even better shape if not for a double-bogey on what played as a tricky 18th hole on Thursday. It also left him at even par for the tournament and brought the 2015 champion within striking distance of the lead.

A trio of fellow former champions, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson are tied on level par just four shots off the pace on a quality leaderboard that augurs well for a dramatic weekend of major championship golf. Mickelson admitted fatigue set in on a tough day. "There's such a thin line between a good shot being next to the hole and a good shot being 40 feet away and then having a very hard 2-putt or something like that". And if I can have a good putting weekend I'm going to have a good chance.

Pieters made an eagle on the par-5 13th on his way to a 68.

It certainly promises to be an interesting day. From there a birdie, a bogey and four pars ended his front nine.

The weather will be warmer, the breeze less bothersome, but the atmosphere no less volatile as the Masters embarks on the third round.

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