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Justin Rose retains Masters lead after 2nd round

Justin Rose second round 2021 Masters
England's Justin Rose (center) shares a laugh with Ireland's Shane Lowry as Rose retains the lead in the 2nd round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

After 1st-round 65, Englishman rallies with 3-under back 9 to shoot 72 at Augusta National and preserve lead entering weekend

Less than 24 hours after Justin Rose played perhaps the best round of the PGA Tour season, the Englishman overcame a shaky start in the second round to retain the lead Friday at the 85th Masters.

Rose, who held a three-stroke advantage to start the day after a 7-under 65, lost the outright lead early Friday when he made four bogeys on the first seven holes and headed to the eighth hole 3 over on his round.

"I kind of told myself going up the eighth hole, You're leading the Masters. Your frame of reference is a little bit different to yesterday. Four ahead is something, but you're still leading, so like just enjoy it and keep going

"I was able to do that."

Rose steadied himself with five consecutive pars, notably with what he called "a good two-putt" on No. 9. He regained the momentum of a day earlier with birdies on Nos. 13, 14 and 16 to salvage an even-par 72 and preserve his spot atop the leaderboard at 7-under 137 (scores).

Rose, 40, a 10-time winner on the PGA Tour, won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. He has gone winless since Jan. 27, 2019, when he won the Farmers Insurance Open. In 15 Masters appearances, Rose has posted five top-10 results, notably runners-up in 2015 and 2017.

Rose, a five-time Ryder Cup player for Europe, won the 2016 Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro for the Great Britain team.

American rookie Will Zalatoris, 24, playing in his first Masters and looking for his first PGA Tour victory, birdied the final three holes to shoot 68 and grab a share of second place with Brian Harman (69) at 6-under 138.

Australia's Marc Leishman shot 67 to move into a tie for fourth place at 5-under 139. Leishman, 37, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, owns two top-10 results in eight appearances at the Masters.

Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Masters champion and winner of last week's Valero Texas Open, surged up the leaderboard with a 4-under 68 to join Leishman in fourth place.

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger shot 6-under 66 to pull within three strokes of the lead. Wiesberger, 36, a seven-time winner on the European Tour who has not won on the PGA Tour, birdied his first three holes and made the turn in 5-under 31. He added a birdie at the par-4 10th before dropping a shot in the middle of Amen Corner after he missed the green at the par-3 12th. He got one back with an up-and-down for birdie at the par-5 15th.

American Tony Finau was riding the crest of a 6-under round through 10 holes but failed to build on the momentum on the back nine, settling for a 6-under 66. He stood 4 under for the tournament, tied for sixth.

Justin Thomas, who won the Players Championship last month and ranks No. 2 in the world, shot 5-under 67 to join Wiesberger, Finau, Si Woo Kim, Cameron Champ and Hideki Matsuyama in a tie for sixth at 4-under 140 through 36 holes.

The 36-hole cut, to the low 50 and ties, was made at 3 over.

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