“With that top tier being a lot softer this year, coming in here from a little bit further back, being able to hold it in that back section makes that green play a hell of a lot bigger.,” said Danny Willett, who won the Masters in 2016 and bogeyed No. 5 twice last year before missing the cut.
This year, Willett, who is at 7 under, made par there the first two rounds.
“Usually you’re coming in there trying to just pitch it over that downslope and then hope that it stays short of the back bunker,” he said on Friday, “but with it being softer this year, your only real bad miss there is short where it’s going to be a tricky putt up and over.”
Saturday’s cut culls the field to 60.
Some 65 players lasted long enough to play on Saturday at the Masters in 2019, giving the tournament the largest weekend field in its history.
But the list of qualifiers for the third and fourth rounds is a little smaller this year: 60, after Augusta National decided that the cut would be limited to the 50 lowest scorers plus any ties. Those included in the field are 58 pros and two amateurs. Since 2013, the cut had been set at the low 50, ties and anyone within 10 strokes of the leader.
Through Saturday morning, when much of the field finished their second rounds, the cut line was set at even par.
Fred S. Ridley, Augusta National’s chairman, said Wednesday that officials made the change in hopes of better forecasting the field and because the more forgiving rule was not helping all that many players contend seriously for a green jacket.
“The last several years, I think we’ve only had two players who have been in contention who made the cut only because of the 10-shot rule,” said Ridley, who added that “while certainly it can happen, it just doesn’t.”