Dustin Johnson misses Masters cut for first time

ablondin@thesunnews.comApril 11, 2014 

Masters Golf


— For the second time in the past six years, Dustin Johnson has a couple days to spend at his leisure on Masters Tournament weekend.

Johnson missed the 2012 event with an injury, and on Friday he missed the cut for the first time in his five tournament appearances at Augusta National Golf Club.

Johnson shot a 2-over-par 74 in the second round of the 78th Masters and missed the cut by three shots with a 7-over 151.

“I’m disappointed,” Johnson said. “I wanted to play well and I’ve been playing really well all year. And this is a golf course that really suits me. It’s definitely a little disappointing not to do a little better.”

Johnson entered the Masters with five top-six finishes in seven tournaments this season, including a win, and tied for 13th at Augusta last year following three finishes between 30th and 38th from 2009-11.

He made the turn Friday 1 under for the round and 4 over for the tournament with a birdie on the par-4 seventh hole, but he bogeyed holes 11, 13 and 14 to shoot a 3-over 39 on the back nine.

He lipped out a 5-foot par putt after missing the 11th green from the fairway, and watched his 9-iron approach with 153 yards to the green on the par-5 13th hit the front of the green and roll back into the creek fronting it.

“I just missed it,” Johnson said. “I just didn’t catch it right and made a bogey there. That’s a terrible bogey.”

Johnson’s second shot on the par-4 14th hole rode the flagstick into the hole but bounced out off the bottom of the cup to 20 feet, requiring a rules official to repair the cup. Johnson three-putted to make a bogey. “Things just didn’t go my way,” Johnson said.

Johnson made just three birdies in his two rounds.

“I just didn’t play good. I made too many mistakes, too, from the fairway. I wasn’t swinging that well. I felt okay, but I was just a little bit off, and out here you can’t be off at all. You’ve got to be on. You’ve got to be hitting it the right distance, you’ve got to be hitting the right shots. I was just a little bit off, and out here it just magnifies it. If you’re a little bit off one way or the other it kicks away from the hole instead of kicking toward the hole. It makes it hard.”

Johnson is committed to next play in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., in three weeks, and he’s participating in the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am on Monday at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Club.

Fabulous Fred

Fred Couples continues to astound at the Masters.

In recent years, as sure as you can count on the azaleas blooming at Augusta National you can count on Couples being in contention.

Since Couples turned 50 before the 2010 tournament, he has finished in the top 15 four consecutive years, and is poised to do it again, as he’s tied for seventh at 2-under 142 following a pair of 71s.

Couples has been even more impressive through the first two rounds. He was in the lead in 2012 and second last year, and was in the top 10 through two rounds in both 2010 and ’11. The 1992 Masters champion hopes to continue the magic Saturday.

“I feel great about playing here. I’m excited about playing here,” Couples said. “Then when you see me in the parking lot Saturday night I’m dejected every year because I can’t keep putting these rounds together.”

Couples has shot third-round scores of 75 and 77 in the past two years. “I learned my scoring average is 76 on Saturday. I’m a good club player here on Saturday,” Couples said. “I can’t panic. … I have to hang in there and expect a bad shot here and there, because it’s going to be a tough day tomorrow, but when I hit the [good] shots I have to putt well.”

The weekend off

The list of 46 players that missed the cut at 4-over 148 includes some impressive names and resumes.

Along with Johnson at 151, also missing the cut were Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson and Charl Schwartzel by a shot at 149, Graeme McDowell and Zach Johnson at 150, Angel Cabrera and Patrick Reed at 152, Keegan Bradley at 153 and Jason Dufner at 154.

The loss of Dufner and Mickelson means two of the past three major champions won’t be adding hardware to their resumes this week. Reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose shot a 70 Friday and is tied for 26th at 2-over 146.

Par-3 Contest winner Ryan Moore missed the cut at 149, so this won’t be the year a par-3 winner also captures the green jacket in the same year.

U.S. Amateur runner-up Oliver Goss, 19, of Australia via England was the lone amateur among six to make the 51-player cut and is tied for 37th at 147 following an impressive 71 Friday. Reigning U.S. Am champion Matthew Fitzpatrick of England, also 19, missed an 8-foot par putt on the 18th that would have qualified him for the weekend.

Six players age 50 or older made the cut. They are Couples (54) at 2-under 142, Larry Mize (55), Bernhard Langer (56) and Vijay Singh (51) at 146, Miguel Angel Jimenez (50) at 147 and Sandy Lyle (56) at 148.

Lefty left out

Mickelson was attempting to match Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer with the second-most green jackets won at four, but instead he saw another impressive mark at the Masters come to an end.

He had made 16 consecutive cuts made at Augusta since 1998. Gary Player (1959-82) and Couples (1983-2007) share the record of 23 in a row.

Mickelson’s streak is the eighth-longest in Masters history and was the second-longest active streak by one behind Tiger Woods’ 17.

Mickelson made a triple-bogey Friday for the second consecutive day. He was in the front bunker on the par-3 12th and hit consecutive shots across the green into other bunkers en route to a 6.

“There was no sand where I was at,” Mickelson explained. “I caught the liner of the bunker and bladed it across the green and the same thing happened on the other side. It went back and forth, three bunkers, before I finally got it to stay on grass.

“… I didn't play great. I didn't play bad. I just had one bad hole there at 12. And I keep making these triples, they're tough to overcome.”

Mickelson said he’ll likely watch the Masters conclusion. “It's an exciting tournament. I probably will,” he said. “It will kind of be my punishment.”

Rory’s excellent adventure

Rory McIlroy had quite an eventful 77 Friday.

McIlroy made a double bogey on the 240-yard par-3 fourth hole after hitting a 5-wood over the green on the fly. His ball bounced through the fifth tee box past Adam Scott and into thick bushes near a large fence. He found his ball, but opted to return to the tee to hit his third shot, and managed to get up and down from a front bunker to make the double.

After making a double on the 10th, bogey on the 11th and par on the 12th to begin his back nine, his second shot into the par-5 13th green hit a sprinkler head just off the left side of the green and his ball bounced deep into azalea bushes behind the green. He punched a shot just shy of the green and eventually made bogey.

“I've seen a lot of this golf course in the last few years,” McIlroy said. “It was very frustrating. I just really couldn't get anything to go my way. I had a couple of really bad breaks on 4 and 13 – got a really massive wind switch on 4, and then hitting the sprinkler on 13 to go up into the azaleas.”

“… It wasn’t a bad shot on 13. I didn't quite deserve that, hitting the sprinkler. But it was just a frustrating day.”

McIlroy managed to hole a 5-foot par putt on the 18th hole to make the cut on the number at 4-over 148.

To view Blondin's blog, Green Reading, or Twitter page, @alanblondin, visit myrtlebeachonline.com.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.

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