2021 MASTERS Leishman excited, pulls within two strokes of Rose

After a special opening round, Justin Rose cooled on Day 2 of the 2021 Masters allowing a bunch of players to draw closer including Australia’s Marc Leishman.

Marc Leishman has surged into a tie for fourth place after firing a 5-under par 67 to pull within two shots of overnight leader Justin Rose.

Leishman’s sped out of the blocks with three birdies in his opening three holes and was at one stage in a tie for the lead after a birdie at the iconic par-5 15th hole.

“I think it was really important, particularly after my finish yesterday,” Leishman said. “I got off to a good start yesterday and kind of stumbled home, given the tough conditions.”

Leishman looks to have shed a few kilos and is upbeat about his chances this weekend after a few flat months on the golf course.

“This is why I came here. This is the position I wanted to be in. My game’s finally feeling good,” Leishman said.

“It’s the Masters, so yeah, I’m excited for the next two days, but there’s a lot of good shots that have to be hit and a lot of good putts made to give myself a chance going into the back nine on Sunday.”

Americans Will Zalatorius and Brian Harman are now just a single shot behind Rose, with Jordan Spieth also in the hunt.

Spieth ended a long winless drought by winning the Honda Classic last week and the 2015 Masters champion also fired a 5-under par 67 to give himself a chance at a second green jacket.

“I’m in position now to think that for sure, but at the halfway point, I would have been pleased with being two back, if that’s where I’m at, especially after last week,” Spieth said after his round.

Australian Cameron Smith is also not out of the conversation. Smith finished in a tie for second place at last year’s November Masters and a 4-under 68 has him at 2-under par at the halfway point of the tournament.

Smith’s round was looking incredible after making an eagle at the par-5 13th hole to get to 5-under par on the leaderboard.

However, Smith dropped three shots in the next two holes to put a dampener on his round.

A bogey at the 14th was followed by a double-bogey at the 15th after Smith put his approach shot into the water.

“I mean, 14 hurt. I didn’t really hit a bad shot there, I was just probably half a club out and we thought we were going to get a little flier out of the rough there, and just didn’t jump and come up short, and that’s probably not the best spot to leave yourself there,” Smith said. “Yeah, learned something there.”

“And then 15 was 15. I mean, it was just rubbish, to be honest.”

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