With much of the pre-tournament focus and hype at the Masters in Augusta being on whether the world number one Rory McIlroy would claim the grand slam of golf, it is the far less acclaimed Jordan Spieth who has proved to be the form player so far after the first two rounds. After 36 holes he leads by an extremely healthy five shots and seems to be challenging the rest of the field to catch him if they can. That could prove a tricky task if he maintains the consistency he has displayed so far into the weekend, his 14 under par total setting a record at the half-way stage..
21-year-old Spieth followed up his classy first round with a 66 on Friday, shaving another six shots off the par total and putting himself into pole position to claim the prestigious green jacket. Fellow American Charley Hoffman has edged himself into second position on 9 under, with the two Englishmen Justin Rose and Paul Casey a further two shots back. They share the tie for third place with another American, Dustin Johnson.
The experienced Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els still harbour ambitions of climbing their way up the leaderboard, with scores of 6 under and 5 under, respectively. They will need to close the gap significantly in the third round if they are to catch Spieth, but their relative positions are far better than either Tiger Woods or McIlroy, who sit side by side at just a couple of shots under par. Given Woods' woes with his health and fitness in recent weeks, his form thus far has been more encouraging than that of the Irishman, who looks likely to pay for a slow start in the opening 36 holes.
Neither Woods nor McIlroy seem likely to challenge for the title this time around, unless there is a dramatic collapse by Spieth from his current lofty position twelve shots ahead of the illustrious duo. It could have been even worse for McIlroy though, as he flirted with missing the cut at one stage, before steadying the ship to finish in a share for 19th place going into Saturday's round.If Spieth is to be caught, it could be Hoffman who is the man to do it. He would have been even closer to the early leader, but for a dropped shot at the last hole in his second round and has been playing consistently so far. Johnson is another who is capable of making quick inroads into a sizeable lead, as illustrated by his three eagles during round two, another record for the Masters. Spieth seems at ease with the golf course thus far though and capable of improving on his runner-up position from twelve months ago, showing impressive maturity for such a young player with just one dropped shot so far.