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Tiger Woods fades with a 75 at Augusta

Jason Dufner is in contention for the second consecutive major.

April 06, 2012|By Teddy Greenstein and Jeff Shain
  • Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the 18th hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday.
Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the 18th hole during the second round of… (David Cannon / Getty Images )

AUGUSTA, Ga. — In his prime, Tiger Woods bounced balls off his wedge.

Friday? He drop-kicked his club at Augusta National.

Woods booted his nine-iron after dumping his tee shot on No. 16 into the front-right bunker.

"We can safely say Tiger has lost his game ... and his mind," three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo commented on the CBS broadcast.

Woods' take: "It's a simple nine-iron, not that hard. It's a very easy golf shot."

Not for him. Not this day.

After getting to two under for the round and tournament with a birdie on No. 3, Woods played his final 15 holes in five over to card a 75, his highest round here since logging a pair of them in 2004.

"I've been working hard on my short game," Woods said, "and I think what Sean [Foley] and I have been talking about might have crept into my full swing."

On No. 15, Woods semi-shanked his approach into the gallery, then failed to clear a bunker with his flop shot. He is tied for 40th, eight behind co-leaders Fred Couples and Jason Dufner.

"One of the neat things about this tournament is the 10-shot rule," he said. "Anyone who makes the cut can win the tournament."

Looking for No. 1

When Couples cruises the fairways, golf fans see the essence of carefree cool.

Dufner exudes a lot of that same laid-back demeanor too — though that's pretty much where the comparisons end. Couples, 52, is a major champion and a fan favorite; Dufner is still seeking his first PGA Tour win at age 35.

Dufner had completed his 70 in relative anonymity with a bogey that wound up costing him the chance to stand alone at the top.

"I'm just trying to have a nice round of golf," said Dufner, who wasn't even brought down to the media center for a formal Q&A. "Play well, commit to my shots and let the rest take care of itself."

Dufner had a chance to hold the lead by himself when a birdie at the par-three 16th moved him to six under for the tournament. But he bogeyed No.18 after picking up mud on his golf ball.

The Alabama pro had a chance to win the PGA Championship last year, losing a playoff to Keegan Bradley after three bogeys in his final four holes helped dissipate a five-shot lead.

"It didn't quite work," Dufner said, "but it carried over into this year. It gave me confidence that I can compete and play at a high level out here."

Dufner is No. 31 in the world rankings but hasn't won since the 2006 LaSalle Bank Open — a Nationwide Tour event played outside Chicago.

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