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Jordan Spieth in tie for third halfway through debut at Augusta

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Friday, April 11, 2014, at 8:06 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 7:52 a.m.

— Jordan Spieth was a one-and-done talent at the University of Texas and an instant sensation on the PGA Tour. His first year at the Masters is going pretty well, too.

Spieth, 20, shot a 2-under 70 in the second round on Friday to pull into a four-way tie for third place with defending champ Adam Scott, Thomas Bjorn and Jonas Blixt. He is the top American behind leader Bubba Watson.

“A big goal of mine this year was to get in contention at a major and the Masters being the one that I dreamt about.” Spieth said after his round. “So that’s going to leave more emotion out there.”

After winning PGA Tour rookie-of-the-year honors in 2013, Spieth looked poised to rise up the rankings this season. His ascent just might be coming a little earlier than anticipated. The normally stoic and mature Spieth, a Dallas native, referenced former Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, a fellow Texan, in explaining his emotions.

“Mr. Crenshaw says it best,” Spieth said, “the Masters brings out emotion in guys that aren’t emotional. I’m already emotional and I got to keep it on the down low.”

Manziel in the house

Spieth was not the only young star from Texas in the house on Friday. Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, a former Heisman Trophy winner, was spotted on the course. He reportedly brought his father on a surprise trip.

Other celebrities spotted at Augusta: Wayne Gretzky, whose daughter Paulina is the fiancé of golfer Dustin Johnson; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell; South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier; and Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright.

Mickelson misses the cut

For the first time in 17 years, Phil Mickelson won’t be around for the weekend.

Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, shot a 73 on Friday, running his two-day total to 5 over. He finished outside of the top 50 and ties when the day was done. Mickelson said he would still watch the final two days of the tournament, even after missing the cut.

“It’s an exciting tournament, I probably will,” Mickelson said. “It’s kind of my — kind of be my punishment.”

Woodland falters late

Gary Woodland, a Topeka native and Kansas grad, was set to be in decent position heading into the weekend. Then came four bogeys on the final four holes.

Woodland shot a second-day 77 after shooting a 2-under 70 on Thursday. He sits at 3 over for the tournament and tied for 37th place. One day after making birdie on three of the course’s four par-5s, Woodland played the par-5s at even par on Friday, making just one birdie while bogeying the 16th.

Woodland will play with Billy Horschel in the third round, teeing off at 9:55 a.m. on Saturday.

Rory in trouble

One day after shooting an opening-day round 71, Rory McIlroy played himself out of contention with an ugly 77. He shot 40 on the back nine, sabotaged by a handful of errant shots. The worst, perhaps, came on the 13th, when McIlroy ended up in the famed azaleas in Amen Corner.

“I’ve seen a lot of this golf course in the last few years,” said McIlroy, who entered the weeks with hopes of winning his first green jacket and third overall major championship at age 24. “It was very frustrating,” he continued. “I just really couldn’t get anything to go my way.”

McIlroy still managed to make the cut. He’ll be the first one to tee off at 9:15 on Saturday, playing solo.

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to rdodd@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/rustindodd.

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