Play was suspended in Thursday's opening round of the RBC Heritage with Viktor Hovland clinging onto the outright lead following his seven-under 64.

It was a great first trip around Harbour Town Golf Links for the Norwegian, going bogey-free with seven birdies.

Hovland, 25, is coming off some terrific results, tying for third at The Players Championship in March before a tied-seventh finish at the Masters last week.

He leads by one stroke from Jimmy Walker, Aaron Rai and Brian Harman, although Harman is the only of the trio to have finished their round, with Walker still having two holes to play, while Rai has three more to try and track down Hovland.

There is a logjam tied for fifth at five under including major champions Matt Fitzpatrick, Zach Johnson and Justin Rose, with Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele a further shot back at four under.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth is joined by world number two Scottie Scheffler and three-time champion at this event Stewart Cink at three under, while top-10 talents Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay headline the group at two under. 

Last week's Masters champion Jon Rahm shot a disappointing one-over 72, and world number seven Max Homa (two over) is also on the wrong side of the cut-line heading into Friday.

Rory McIlroy has pulled out of the RBC Heritage later this week on the back of his disappointing Masters showing.

McIlroy endured a torrid time at Augusta National last week, missing the cut after carding a five-over second round.

The world number three will not have the opportunity to get over that with a solid display at the RBC Heritage, which gets under way in South Carolina on Thursday.

No explanation was given for his decision to pull out of the tournament, which only players ranked in the top 20 of the PGA Tour's Player Impact Program are eligible to take part in.

This is McIlroy's second withdrawal of the season, with only one allowed for personal or professional reasons, meaning he may now miss out on his bonus money from the Player Impact Program.

Jon Rahm is expected to participate in the tournament after winning his first Masters title with a superb final-round display.

Brooks Koepka said it will take a while to get over missing out on winning the Masters after seeing Jon Rahm take the green jacket after Sunday's final round.

Koepka had led for the first three rounds at Augusta, only to finish tied for second with Phil Mickelson, four shots behind eventual winner Rahm.

Speaking after his final three-over round of 75, the 32-year-old did not believe he played well enough, but also failed to get "good breaks".

"Obviously it's super disappointing," he said. "I didn't play good enough to win. Hit some shots where I also feel like I didn't get some good breaks, the ball on nine; on four and six, I hit some good shots and just ended up in some terrible spots where it was quite difficult.

"Then 12, it was just kind of interesting, Jon hit nine and I hit a wedge over the green. Then 14, I felt like I just had to make a run for it. Didn't feel like I did too much wrong, but that's how golf goes sometimes."

Koepka also claimed that the pair in front of him and Rahm – Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland – were slowing them down, saying: "Yeah, the group in front of us was brutally slow. Jon went to the bathroom like seven times during the round, and we were still waiting."

With two LIV Golf players in Koepka and Mickelson in the top three, the former said it proved they can compete just as well as their PGA Tour counterparts.

"I mean, we're still the same people," he said. "I know if I'm healthy, I know I can compete. I don't think any of the guys that played this event thought otherwise, either. When Phil plays good, we know he's going to compete. [Patrick] Reed, the same thing.

"I think that's just manufactured by the media that we can't compete anymore; that we are washed up."

He added: "The way Jon played today was pretty impressive. I don't know, the game, it's so good right now, everybody, it's amazing to see all these guys compete. When they are at their best, they are all tough to beat."

Having also finished tied for second at the 2019 Masters, Koepka said he will not initially see the positives in such a high finish at a major, but will eventually do so.

"Probably not. Not today. Probably not for the next few days. But eventually it will be a positive," he said. "I'd say probably give it a week, and I'll start to see some positives out of it and carry this over to the PGA, the US Open and The Open.

"But right now, it's kind of tough to see, if I'm honest, probably for the next few hours and the next few days."

Jon Rahm was stunned to find out he is the first European to ever win both the US Open and the Masters after securing a four-stroke victory at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday.

Rahm, 28, finished with a three-under 69 to record a winning score of 12 under, but he needed some help from Brooks Koepka as the American came into Sunday's play at 13 under.

Koepka only needed to shoot even par to push Rahm all the way, but he had eight bogeys and three birdies during his 28 holes after poor weather on Saturday forced players into a marathon session to finish.

It was Rahm's 20th professional win, and his second major, joining his victory at the 2021 US Open played at Torrey Pines South.

The Spaniard had been discussing how special it feels to achieve this accomplishment on the birthday of his golfing hero Seve Ballesteros, and in the 40-year anniversary of his second Masters triumph in 1983.

But even Ballesteros never won the US Open, and when asked how it feels to be the first European to pull off the feat, Rahm was taken aback.

"I find it hard to believe, the first one," he said. "You know, if there's anything better than accomplishing something like this, it's making history.

"The fact that you tell me that, to be the first European ever to do that, hard to explain. Out of all the accomplishments and the many great players that have come before me, to be the first to do something like that, it's a very humbling feeling. 

"I still can't believe I'm the first. I don't know what to tell you – it is a pretty good duo of majors. 

"The US Open is about as hard a test as you're ever going to find, and, you know, I was starting to think I was never going to win a major again unless it was at Torrey Pines. 

"I kept seeing the stats, the lowest score to par out of two starts [at the Masters], and how great I've done here in the past, but never gave myself a chance to win. All I asked for was a chance, and I got it. 

"To get that done is – I can't help but feel anything but thankful."

While he appeared stoic and unflappable as he defended his lead down the stretch, Rahm said that just means he has a great poker face.

"What is going on on the outside is not always a reflection of the inside," he said.

"I was calm, I never got frustrated, I never really felt like anything was out of control. But obviously you're nervous, right. There's tension out there. 

"That bogey on nine timing-wise was bad because Jordan [Spieth] and Phil [Mickelson] came in making birdies, right. So what looked like a two – or possibly more – shot lead, narrowed down very, very quickly with the chance of them making a birdie on 18.

"So it made those 10, 11, 12 holes harder. Again, I might have looked calm, but I was definitely, definitely nervous out there. I'm glad that's the way it looked. That's what you strive for, right? You don't want to panic, and I never panicked.

"I felt comfortable with my game, and I had a plan to execute, and that's all I can do."

Phil Mickelson was not surprised by Jon Rahm's success at the Masters, and believes his own strong performance on Sunday was an indicator of how close he remains to the top echelon.

Mickelson shot rounds of 71, 69 and 75 before closing with a stunning seven-under 65 to catapult up to a tie for second at eight-under overall. 

He finished his tournament with five birdies from his last seven holes, capping off the best round of the day in what was Mickelson's best outing since winning the 2021 PGA Championship.

The 52-year-old felt a performance like this was not out of reach due to the way he had been hitting the ball this year.

When asked if Sunday was the beginning of a return to top form, he said: "I'm hopeful that's the case.

"I feel like it was evident to me that I was hitting a lot of good shots, that I was playing well, but I wasn't getting the score out of it. 

"Today was a great day for me to stay present and just keep hitting good shots. Even after I might have had a mess-up here or there, I was able to stay present, keep hitting good shots.

"I'm hopeful that this kind of catapults me into playing the rest of the year the way I believe I'm playing. I really worked hard in the off-season to get ready. 

"I've been shooting some really low scores at home, and today I kind of let it happen rather than trying to force it, and I had a really good day and made some noise.

"Unfortunately it wasn't enough, but it was really a lot of fun for me to play at this level again, and it's encouraging for me going forward the rest of the year."

The six-time major champion said: "It's been a while since I've been able to focus the way I want to" due to off-course distractions, but highlighted how privileged he feels to still be able to perform on such a big stage with perfect health.

"I think it's not so much what I learned [about myself], but I certainly have a lot of gratitude to be able to be here, be part of this tournament, play well, play good golf and take advantage of a unique opportunity that I have.

"Which is to play golf at a very high level at a later stage in life, given that I have not had any physical injuries and I'm able to swing the club the way I want to and, with a little bit of work and dedication, to compete against some of the best players in the world on some of the biggest stages. That's really what's driving me, and today was a very encouraging day."

Turning his attention to the winner, Mickelson spoke about his long-standing relationship with Rahm, and recalled the now 28-year-old beating him on the course as a college student.

"My brother, Tim, was his college coach for four years at Arizona State," he said. "First time I played with him we played Whisper Rock, and he shot 62. I thought I played pretty good, and he gave me a pretty good beat-down.

"So I am not surprised at his success. I mean, it was obvious to me at a very young age that he was one of the best players in the world even while he was in college. To see him on this stage is not surprising for anybody.

"It's hard not to pull for Jon, too. He's such a good guy. He has such a great heart and treats people so well. I think the world of him as a person, and as a player, that's obvious how good he is."

Jon Rahm reflected on the achievements of his hero Seve Ballesteros after winning the Masters on Sunday by four strokes with a score of 12 under.

Rahm posted rounds of 65, 69, and 73 before closing with another three-under 69, pulling well clear of Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson in a tie for second at eight under.

It is the 20th professional win of Rahm's career at just 28 years old, and his sixth victory since October after two wins on the European circuit and three on the PGA Tour.

The result comes nearly 40 years to the day since Ballesteros' second win at Augusta National Golf Club back in 1983, and during his interview in the Butler Cabin, Rahm spoke about the impact the Spanish legend had on his life.

"The history of the game is a big part of why I play, and one of the reasons I play… with Seve being [another reason]," he said.

"If it wasn't for that Ryder Cup in 1997 – me and my dad talk about it all the time – we don't know where I would be, or as a family where we would be.

"So for me to get it done on the 40th anniversary of [Ballesteros'] win, on his birthday, on Easter Sunday, it's incredibly meaningful. And to finish it off the way I did – an unusual par, a 'Seve' par – in a non-purposeful way it was a testament to him, and I know he was pulling for me today."

When asked about the moment he felt the tournament was his to lose, he said he could feel the footsteps of the chasing pack at the turn.

"I thought eight was a key birdie, but I didn't expect that bogey on nine, that was a couple of good swings… but I had to get through 'Amen Corner' even par, that's what I was looking at," he said.

"Obviously Phil [Mickelson] and Jordan [Spieth] were making birdies and finishing strong, and they were finishing their round as I was finishing 10, so making sure I didn't put myself in a difficult spot on 10, 11, 12 was the key.

"Then on 13 with that right-to-left wind was when I could turn a little bit and get on the attack, and that's what I did. It was not really one moment, but if I had to pick one I would say hitting that draw perfectly on 13 was the start of it."

During his official presentation, Rahm included a funny story looking back at his wonky start to the tournament, having become the first to ever win the Masters after double-bogeying their first hole.

He spoke about how he received a text from Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz saying the first green is "looking like a walk in the park – 10 minutes before I four-putted it to start the tournament".

"Thank you, Zach," he said. "Don't ever do that again please."

The win means Rahm has reclaimed the world number one ranking yet again as he, Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy take turns sitting atop the pile.

Jon Rahm capitalised on a miserable Sunday for Brooks Koepka to race clear and win the Masters by four strokes with a score of 12 under.

Rahm, 28, had a disappointing finish to his third round early on Sunday morning, with a pair of bogeys in the last six holes meaning he would start his final trip around Augusta National Golf Course at nine under, two off the lead.

But Koepka would make two early bogeys, and Rahm tied things up with birdies on the third and eighth holes.

Rahm and Koepka both bogeyed the ninth, but while Koepka continued to head in the wrong direction, Rahm got back on track and opened up a four-stroke buffer with back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th, and he closed the show with par on 18.

Koepka ended up finishing at eight under in a tie for second, where he was surprisingly joined by Phil Mickelson after an historic round from the 52-year-old.

Mickelson shot a seven-under 65 in his last round – including five birdies from his final seven holes – to reach eight under for the tournament.

In doing so, Mickelson set the record for the lowest round in Masters history by a player aged 50 or older, finishing his day as the leader in the clubhouse.

He needed an epic collapse from Rahm to make things interesting down the stretch – who at the time only led by two strokes – but it never arrived.

Sunday's other top performance came from Jordan Spieth, putting together a round 66 – with nine birdies and three bogeys – to shoot up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth at seven under.

He was joined by fellow former Masters champion Patrick Reed as well as Russell Henley, with Viktor Hovland and Cameron Young one further back tied for seventh at six under.

Sahith Theegala produced a Tiger Woods-esque chip-in birdie on the 16th hole to claim outright ninth place at five under, with major champions Matt Fitzpatrick, Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa being joined by world number seven Xander Schauffele in a tie for 10th at four under.

Shot of the day

It was impossible to watch Theegala's chip-in run down the 16th green without remembering Woods' famous birdie in his 2005 victory, putting it in the perfect spot to replicate the historic moment.

Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson gave himself a sniff of another green jacket success as he rolled back the years at Augusta.

The American won in 2004, 2006 and 2010 and swept up the leaderboard into second place on Sunday thanks to a 65, setting an eight-under-par clubhouse target.

Jon Rahm was out on the course on 11 under through 13 holes, having overtaken Brooks Koepka on the front nine, so Mickelson needed the Spaniard to suffer a late collapse to have a chance of the title.

Mickelson and Koepka have been among the star names who have defected to the LIV Golf series in recent times, while Rahm was flying the flag for the PGA Tour, as players from both circuits went head to head for major glory.

Speaking after his stellar closing round, Mickelson said: "This is as much fun as I could possibly have playing golf.

"The final round of the Masters, and to play the way I did and finish it off with two birdies – this has been a lot of fun. Regardless of the outcome, this has been a really fun day for me."

Mickelson and the LIV Golf set have pocketed fortunes for joining that Saudi-backed series, but they relish the big occasions such as the Masters.

"I'm grateful we get to be here, to play and compete and be a part of this great championship, and to play like I did today was extra special," Mickelson said.

The 52-year-old was thrilled to shoot as low as he did, and he told Sky Sports it was his aim "to shoot low scores and continue playing at a high level".

"I have a unique opportunity given I'm physically not having any issues, and I'm able to play and compete and swing the club the way I want to," Mickelson added.

"If I can focus and work on my game, I can take advantage of this unique opportunity I have and try to do some special things in the game."

Speaking for the LIV players, Mickelson added: "We're all really appreciative to be a part of this. I think it's great for the championship to have all the best players in the world here, playing and competing.

"It's fun for me as a past champion to be able to be a part of this and continue to be a part of this great championship."

Jon Rahm reached the turn on Sunday at the Masters with a two-shot lead as he swept ahead of Brooks Koepka.

Coming into the final round at nine under, two behind Koepka, Rahm birdied the par-four third hole and the par-five eighth to reach 11 under.

Meanwhile, after starting at 11 under, Koepka bogeyed the fourth and sixth to fall to nine under. They then both bogeyed the ninth, leaving Rahm at 10 under, and Koepka at eight under with the back nine to come.

Spain's Rahm, 28, stood potentially just nine holes away from the second major title of his career after also securing the 2021 U.S. Open.

It would also be his fourth win of the year after victories at the Tournament of Champions and The American Express in January, and the Genesis Invitational in February.

Koepka is coming off a win at last week's LIV Golf Orlando, and he was at 13 under when dismal weather brought an early end to Saturday's play, but by Sunday afternoon he looked to have run out of scoring power, with his last birdie coming on the eighth hole of his third round.

Two big names stormed up the leaderboard, with Jordan Spieth shooting a six-under 66 to reach seven under for the tournament and Phil Mickelson going one better with a 65 to get to eight under and set the clubhouse standard, moving level with Koepka.


After starting the day in the top 10, Jason Day capitulated with four double bogeys to be eight over for his round through 13 holes.

Brooks Koepka carried a two-shot lead into the final 18 holes of the Masters after the third round was completed before lunch on Sunday in Augusta.

An early start, made necessary after torrential rain curtailed play on Saturday, meant there was plenty to play for before the players set out on their final circuit of the Georgia course.

Koepka fell back from an overnight 13 under par to 11 under, while nearest rival Jon Rahm reached the 54-hole mark on nine under, with both men signing for rounds of 73. Viktor Hovland was one shot further back in third place after a two-under 70.

The prospect of a LIV Golf player landing the Green Jacket therefore remained a strong possibility, with Koepka among the players widely characterised as rebels for defecting to the Saudi Arabia-backed tour.

LIV CEO Greg Norman spoke before the tournament of the prospect of players from the breakaway circuit mobbing the winner on the 18th green in the final round if he came from within their ranks, rather than from the PGA Tour or elsewhere.

Koepka was on the seventh hole in round three when play was suspended on Saturday afternoon, and at that stage he held a four-shot lead. That dominance was reined in when the action resumed.

Rahm closed to just one behind, 11 under to Koepka's 12 under, by the time the leaders reached the 13th tee, but a bogey six from the Spaniard there knocked him back one shot.

Hovland improved to eight under with five birdies in a row from the 11th, moving ahead of Patrick Cantlay who was early into the clubhouse on six under after a 68.

At 15, Koepka saw his ball roll back off the green and towards water, only to hold up on the damp grass.

That spot of good fortune would be followed by Koepka stretching his lead to three at the short 16th when Rahm sprayed his tee shot the wrong side of a greenside bunker. The world number three could not stop his chip close enough to the hole, missing the putt back.

Koepka's first three-putt of the tournament followed at the 17th, where a par from Rahm cut the deficit back to two, and both men parred the last to set up a titanic battle for glory in the afternoon, scrapping against each other with the backdrop of it being a LIV Golf versus PGA Tour head-to-head.

Twice a winner of the US PGA Championship, and twice a U.S. Open champion, Koepka was bidding to become the 20th golfer to reach five men's major triumphs.

Rahm is also a former U.S. Open winner, while Hovland has yet to win a major.

The final day's play from Augusta did not feature Tiger Woods, as the 15-time major winner and five-time Masters champion withdrew due to injury, having toiled his way to nine over, limping as he struggled in the rain on Saturday.

Brooks Koepka agreed with the decision to call off play at the Masters on Saturday, with weather disrupting play for a second day in a row.

Inclement weather led to the action being halted at 3:15pm local time at Augusta National, when Koepka was on the seventh hole.

He had extended his lead over Jon Rahm to four strokes by the time Saturday's play came to an end, with a mammoth Sunday lying ahead if the tournament is to finish as scheduled.

While a second day of disruption will cause headaches for tournament organisers – the final group have 29 holes to play if the Masters is to avoid a Monday finish for the first time since 1983 – Koepka feels the decision was the right one.

"It's obviously super difficult. The ball's not going anywhere," he said. "You've got rain to deal with, and it's freezing cold. It doesn't make it easy.

"You've got to make some pressure putts. You know it was going to be a difficult day. You've just got to grind through it and try to salvage something.

"That seventh green was soaked. It was very tough. I thought I hit a good bunker shot, and it looked like it just skidded on the water. So, I'm glad we stopped.

"I think it was spot on. Maybe I couldn't have hit that bunker shot on seven, but at the end of the day, it's fine. I'm okay with it."

The Masters will resume at 8:30am local time on Sunday, dependent on the condition of the course and overnight rain, with the final round expected to begin at 12:30pm local time.

Tiger Woods matched a Masters record as he made the cut at Augusta National on Saturday.

The five-time champion made the cut for a 23rd consecutive attempt, equalling a feat previously achieved by Fred Couples and Gary Player.

This is Woods' 25th tilt at the Masters, and he has only missed the cut once – on his second visit in 1996.

He added a 73 to his opening 74 this time, completing his second round on Saturday morning in Georgia after play was suspended due to dismal weather on Friday.

On a wet morning, Woods steered clear of trouble until he bogeyed 17 and 18, the latter after mishitting a drive "right off the neck" and finding rough in a position that ruled out reaching the green in two.

He was in danger of missing the rest of the weekend, hovering under the cut mark at one point after completing his round, but three over eventually proved sufficient for the 47-year-old, whose last triumph at this tournament came four years ago.

Woods said: "I've always loved this golf course, and I love playing this event. Obviously I've missed a couple with some injuries, but I've always wanted to play here. I've loved it."

Speaking after his round, while his fate was in the balance, he added: "I hope I get a chance to play this weekend."

Correcting himself, realising it was Saturday, Woods said: "I'm sorry, I got a chance to play on the weekend. I wish I get a chance to play two more rounds."

Woods was far from the business end of the leaderboard, being 15 strokes behind leader Brooks Koepka, who completed his second round before the storms curtailed play on Friday.

Jon Rahm led the chasers and was playing the 10th when play was called off on Friday, three shots behind Koepka at that point.

Spaniard Rahm closed the gap to one shot early on Saturday, but a bogey at 18 meant Rahm had to settle for a round of 69 to sit two back through 36 holes, with amateur Sam Bennett two shots further adrift in third spot.

Fred Couples proved himself a Masters specialist once again as the 63-year-old became the oldest man to ever make the cut at Augusta.

He sealed his place in the final stages of the major on Saturday morning, completing his second round with a bogey at 18 that gave him a second-round 74 for a one-over-par aggregate.

That was enough for the veteran American, who was champion at the Masters in 1992 and has often been a factor over the weekend in subsequent years.

Forty years since his Masters debut, Couples was relieved to get through to the business end of the tournament, having missed the cut in each of the last four years.

"I played really well the last couple days. I enjoy the place," he said.

Couples played his tee shot on 18 on Friday evening, before play was abandoned when trees began to fall amid stormy Georgia weather.

"I had 230 to the hole. All night long, I thought just make a five," Couples said. "I wasn't even thinking about a four, and I made a five. It's probably the best I could have done unless something crazy happened."

It was cold and wet at Augusta on Saturday, and that was set to make the rest of the day a test of resolve, with third rounds due to get under way.

"Am I going to look thrilled to play 18 holes in this this afternoon?" Couples said. "No, I'm a wimp. I'm an old wimp, but I'm excited to play.

"And I don't wear gloves. So I've got a couple of hours to try to figure out what I'm going to try and do if it stays like this all day long.

"But I am excited to make the cut. That's why I come here. The last four years have been really mediocre golf. Maybe one year I was semi close to making the cut. But that's my objective, and I did it.

"It's not like ha, ha, ha, now I can screw around and play 36 holes for fun. I'm going to try and compete. Play a good pairing with some younger guys and watch them play."

Fellow veterans Larry Mize and Sandy Lyle signed off their Masters careers on Saturday, as the champions of 1987 and 1988 respectively completed their second rounds, missing the cut.

Mize, 64, finished second-last on 15 over par after an 80, while 65-year-old Lyle propped up the leaderboard on 20 over after adding an 83 to his opening 81.

Lyle came out to welcome home Mize at the end of the round.

"That was very special for Sandy to come out and greet me there," Mize said. "Sandy's a good friend, a great champion, and to finish off with him is pretty cool."

Friday at Augusta National Golf Club was the Brooks Koepka show as the four-time major champion raced out to a three-stroke lead heading into the weekend at the Masters.

Koepka, who opened his week with a seven-under 65 to grab a share of the lead through 18 holes, followed it with a five-under 67 as part of the lucky morning wave who were able to get their rounds in before the harsh weather arrived.

After eight birdies and one bogey on Thursday, Koepka put together a bogey-free round with three birdies and an eagle as he continued his momentum from last week's victory at LIV Golf Orlando.

Jon Rahm was not so lucky to avoid the strong winds and rain arriving later in the day, but he handled it as well as anyone. He started his second round with seven consecutive pars, before birdieing the eighth and ninth to move to nine under right before his round was cut short.

The winds were blowing in with such force that multiple large trees were blown down in spectator areas, but luckily there were reported no injuries.

One further back from Rahm in outright third is 23-year-old amateur Sam Bennett, shooting his second 68 in a row as he bounced back from his first bogey of the week on the fourth hole to go four-under through his final 14.

Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa and top-10 talent Viktor Hovland (through 10 holes) are tied for fourth at six under, and while Jordan Spieth and Jason Day are still in the hunt at five under, Day will feel he let a golden opportunity slip.

Through 14 holes, Day was in outright second at nine under, but he finished with a double-bogey on 15, a bogey on 16 and another bogey on 18 to slip into a tie for sixth, seven shots off the pace.

In more strong representation from the LIV Golf players, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Joaquinn Niemann are all in the tie for 10th at four under.

Shot of the day

Cameron Smith started his second round with three bogeys from his first seven holes, but his last hole before play was cancelled was one to remember.

On the par-five eighth, Smith found the bunker with his tee shot, but instead of laying up he opted for the aggressive route and hit his fairway wood, trickling its way onto the side of the green and feeding back towards the hole to set up an eagle.

A little birdie told me…

Rookie Bennett made it to the end of his round in solo second at eight under, and if Rahm slips up, Bennett could become the first amateur since 1958 to hold solo second heading into the weekend.

In fact, his score is the second-best 36-hole mark by an amateur at Augusta, bettered only by Ken Venturi in 1956 (nine under), and they are the only amateurs to ever reach the weekend here with a figure better than three under.

Brooks Koepka held a three-shot lead halfway through his second round of The Masters and Rory McIlroy is facing a battle to make the cut.

Koepka was joint-top of the leaderboard along with Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland after starting with a seven-under 65 at Augusta National on Thursday.

The four-time major champion had the chance to go out on his own on Friday, with Rahm and Hovland starting later in the day, and he was sitting pretty at 10 under through nine holes.

Koepka arrived in Georgia full of confidence following a victory at LIV Golf Orlando and the American has given himself a great opportunity to win a first Masters title.

He birdied the second hole after an excellent third shot from a green-side bunker and eagled the par-five eighth following a majestic approach shot to move into double figures.

Jason Day surged into a share of second place courtesy of gains at the second and third holes, while a couple of early birdies took Collin Morikawa to five under on a day on which tee times were brought forward by half an hour due to the forecast of inclement weather.

Amateur Sam Bennett was six shots back from Koepka along with Sam Burns, Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau and Gary Woodland.

McIlroy's hopes of completing a career Grand Slam this weekend look to be over as he was back on two over through three holes following bogeys at the second and third holes.

Defending champion and world number one Scottie Scheffler dropped back to three under.

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