- The Washington Times - Friday, April 7, 2006

LEADER BOARD

AMATEURS — down —

0-for-5 — first weekend at the Masters without an amateur since 2002.

BIG FIVE — up —

Vijay (-3), Phil (-2), Ernie (-2), Retief (-1) and Tiger (-1) all on the big board.

AGING CHAMPIONS — up —

Solid efforts from Couples, Crenshaw and Coody.

CONDITIONS — up —

Unpredictable gusts dried up the greens and baffled players.

PERFECT LINES

“I’d give it two or three. I played in the Ryder Cup, so you get some there.”

— Chad Campbell (71-67) on the total number of blazers in his wardrobe. Obviously, Campbell would love to add a green jacket to his spartan collection.

“I’m going to refrain from answering that question, because if I do, the tee box is going to be back even farther…. I don’t want that one getting out to [Augusta National general chairman] Hootie [Johnson].”

— Phil Mickelson (70-72) when asked which iron he used to reach No. 8 in two shots yesterday. After a comically mammoth drive downwind, Lefty reached the 570-yard hole with a 7-iron en route to a two-putt birdie.

SCORECARD

302.5 — Average driving distance for Jose Maria Olazabal through two rounds, fourth in the field, thanks to technology and strength training. The Spaniard ranked next-to-last in driving distance on his way to victory in 1999, averaging just 239.8 yards.

32 — Back-nine score for David Duval (84-75) yesterday, the best inward nine of the week. The 34-year-old has now made the cut just once in his last 48 PGA Tour starts (dating back to the 2004 season).

10, 11 — The back-to-back stretch of holes that have played the hardest on the layout this week. The 10th, a 495-yard, par-4 ranked second toughest (4.355) through two rounds and the 505-yard, 11th (4.505) ranked first, yielding just five birdies among the 180 posted scores.

POSTCARD FROM AUGUSTA

The Rover’s favorite line of the day came from 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody. The 67-year-old Coody carded an extremely solid 74 and flirted with red numbers before finding “Ike’s Tree” off the 17th tee en route to a double-bogey.

“Excuse the expression, but I didn’t get a virgin there — it’s got me before,” Coody said of hitting into the massive loblolly pine that stands more than 65 feet high and guards the left side of the fairway.

The tree is so named because former president Dwight Eisenhower drove into it so often that he made a motion to have the tree cut down at a 1956 meeting of the club’s governors. Legendary club chairman Clifford Roberts struck down the motion and immediately adjourned the meeting.

The Rover wants to send out a little “buck up” to Charles Howell III, who was probably the most humiliated man on the planet last night. The 26-year-old Augusta native, who on Monday told the world how much the Masters means to him, yesterday ended his abysmal homecoming with the worst 36-hole score (80-84) in the 90-man field. On a course he has played as often as anybody in the field, Howell was waxed by all five amateurs, 70-year-old Gary Player (160) and even 67-year-old Charles Coody (163). That’s going to leave a mark.

— Barker Davis

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