US Masters Halfway Update: My selections Mickelson and Perry strongly in the mix
The Punter talks us through the highlights of day two at the US Masters where Tiger's progress has been somewhat cagey and two of his own selections are amongst the genuine favourites to be wearing a certain green jacket come Sunday night.
I added to my bets before play started yesterday, backing Sean O'Hair at [38.0]. It seemed a fair price after his four under par first round and given he has a similar profile to the last two winners - Trevor Immelman and Zach Johnson - but it was a poor punt; he shot 76 and only just made the cut. But that was somewhat better than another of my selections, Zach Johnson, who shot 80 and missed it by miles!
The morning play was dominated not by Woods, who shot a disappointing level par, but by Chad Campbell, who at one point was five clear, and by Kenny Perry, who ended the day tied with Campbell on nine under par.
My only other bet yesterday was on Perry, at [16.0] as he played the 11th hole, so his strong finish, picking up three shots after I'd backed him, finally gave me some cheer, and things really picked up after that.
Mickelson was matched at a whopping [190.0] when he bogeyed the 11th to go two over for the tournament and if I'm honest I thought he was finished at that point, but he birdied the 12th and was completely rejuvenated. An eagle on 13 was followed by two more birdies and he's worked his way into it, currently on three under.
One shot better on four under is Anthony Kim, who was the star of the show yesterday, making a record 11 birdies during his seven under par round, an unbelievable achievement
So what now? It's fascinatingly poised with Perry and Campbell leading, just one ahead of Cabrera, with a gap of four back to the next serious contenders. Apologies to backers of Todd Hamilton and Tim Clark, but I'm overlooking those two, I just don't fancy them at all. After that it's a complete logjam of quality players.
I think the winner will be one of the front three guys and whilst he's already won a major, I make Cabrera the least likely to do it. Although major-less, Campbell and Perry should arguably both have already won one. They each went very close in the USPGA, Perry in '96 and Campbell in '03. If Perry can do it, he'll be the oldest major winner ever, so no pressure then.
I'm mighty relieved to see Lefty just about back in it and I'm hopeful he or Perry can press on tonight. I'm doing nothing more at this stage, but I'll be monitoring Campbell closely.