Jordan Spieth keeps fighting on day when Augusta shows no mercy | Andy Bull

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The American battled hard but struggled with his putting, though is still in contention at four under after two rounds

Pretty as Augusta is, warm as the locals are, sometimes the best one can hope for is to get round it with one’s dignity intact. On Friday that famous southern hospitality did not extend so far as the pin placements, which were merciless. And with the wind swirling and gusting as it was, most of the players were too busy trying to survive 18 holes to worry too much about making many birdies and eagles. That applied even to Jordan Spieth, who is so comfortable around here that the course’s swales and tumps are as familiar to him as the grooves and lumps in his favourite old sofa.

Spieth had been six under after the first round, and two clear of the field, the very same lead he had here in 2016. That year he held it right through until Amen Corner on Sunday afternoon. This time his lead vanished on the 1st green. Spieth sliced his opening drive wild right, beyond the back of the crowd, thick as it was. Once he had politely asked the gallery to clear out, “back, back, way, way back”, he was surprised to find that he still had a line through to the green. “Look at that, I actually have a clear shot.” And so he did, only it was on an upslope and tight beneath the overhanging trees.

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