Retief Goosen, Ernie Els and José Maria Olazábal all closed the gap on Vijay Singh at the top of a leaderboard dominated by European Tour Members when the second round of the 66th Masters Tournament was completed at Augusta National.
Goosen, who resumed his second round on the 12th following last night’s suspension due to torrential rain, completed a round of 67, five under par to move to eight under par 136 and just one shot adrift of Singh.
The reigning US Open Champion and 2001 Volvo Order of Merit winner arrived at Augusta brimming with confidence following his victory in the BellSouth Classic last week. Having reached six under par overnight, the South African moved to seven under with a birdie on the par five 15th. After his approach just ran through the green Goosen played a delightful controlled chip to within two feet to set up a birdie four.
A solid two putt secured a par on the 16th before Goosen moved to within a shot of the lead with a birdie on the 17th, holing from 20 feet for a three.
Compatriot Els, the current leader of the Volvo Order of Merit, also made huge strides this morning with a spectacular run of three birdies and an eagle from the 13th to move to seven under par. His run only came to an end when his birdie putt on the 16th pulled inches short. Two pars to finish gave the double US Open Champion a back nine of 31 for a round of 67 five under par as he finished just two shots off the pace.
Olazábal, winner of the Green Jacket in 1994 and 1999, also chipped away at Singh’s lead with a round of 69 as he moved to five under par alongside Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington and Angel Cabrera who had already finished their rounds.
Only Tiger Woods broke the European Tour domination of the leaderboard as the defending Champion moved to five under par with a second round of 69 to lie just four strokes off the pace at the halfway stage.
The cut fell at three over par and of the 25 European Tour Members invited to the 66th Masters Tournament, no fewer than 18 progressed to the final two rounds.
The completion of the second round also marked the end of an era as the legendary Arnold Palmer concluded his final competitive round at Augusta National. The Champion in 1958, 1960, 62 and 64 was making his 48th and final appearance over the course he has graced for so many years. Not surprisingly “Arnie’s Army” were out in full force to cheer him home.