Golf / 57th US Masters: Faldo out of contention after torture by water: Maggert makes the running as British favourite reels to quadruple-bogey at the 12th

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The Independent Online
NICK FALDO became the latest victim of the 12th hole, the Golden Bell, yesterday during the second round of the Masters. Tom Weiskopf once took 13 on the 12th, at 155 yards the shortest hole on the course, and although Faldo was not quite so careless it took a heavy toll. A quadruple-bogey seven knocked him for six and at the half-way stage he is three over par.

Faldo, who was two under par for the tournament at the turn, slightly misjudged his tee shot at the 12th and the ball pitched on the bank and rolled back into the water. He took a penalty drop and completely misjudged his third shot which cleared the green and landed in the bunker at the back. From the sand, only the most delicate of bunker shots has a chance of landing the ball on the green, which slopes down towards the water. Faldo blasted out and the ball raced across the green, back into the Creek. With the addition of another penalty stroke, he had to replace the ball in the bunker from where he was now playing six. This time he hit it close to the flag and tapped in for a seven.

Faldo, the winner here in 1989 and 1990, came home in 41, five over par for the back nine, for a round of 76. His aggregate was 147, three over. The field of 90 was reduced to the 44 lowest scores and ties plus those within 10 strokes of the leader and that meant that Faldo had a chance of surviving to the third round. When he came off the 18th green he was speechless. He said he needed time to compose himself. Duly composed, he was asked if he could recover from this. 'I've got to be frigging well playing first,' he replied. Faldo hit a seven-iron at the 12th. 'It was never any good,' he said.

Faldo was 10 strokes adrift of Jeff Maggert. Maggert shot a 67 to stand at seven under par on 137. He finished his round just before heavy rain stopped play for the day. Ten players will have to complete their second rounds this morning before playing the third round. Maggert, who has never won on the US Tour, is one stroke ahead of Bernhard Langer, Ray Floyd and Dan Forsman. Jack Nicklaus, the joint leader after the first round, was at four under par when the rain began to fall, and, as water was being brushed from the greens, Nicklaus declined to play on.

Nicklaus had just birdied the 13th when he walked off the course, a towel draped over his shoulders. As the rain was falling Langer had a three-foot putt for a birdie on 16, which would have put him alongside Maggert on seven under, but the German missed it. Should any of the players who are at the top of the leaderboard move to eight under par on completion of the second round this morning Faldo would not make the cut. It is an unlikely scenario.

Chip Beck, who had a level-par 72 in the first round, shot a 67 yesterday. He has prepared for Augusta by reading a book called 'In Search of Meaning'. Beck said: 'It really hurts when you try to perform and you flop as I've done here for the last two years.' His 67 was more the result of deadly accurate approach play rather than extraordinary putting. Tradition, though, is against Beck. He won the par-three competition here on Wednesday and nobody in the history of the Masters has done the double.

The 57th Masters has been strong on nostalgia and yesterday Seve Ballesteros made a late, great charge. The Spaniard, celebrating his 36th birthday, strung together the sort of sequence that 13 years ago made him a role model for the Green Jacket. For Ballesteros, Amen Corner, the infamous trinity of the 11th, 12th and 13th holes, fed him with manna from heaven.

He had not hit such a rich vein at Augusta National, a course which many of his peers reckon is tailor made for Ballesteros's game, since he gate-crashed the cathedral in the pines in 1980 to become, at 23 years and four days, the youngest player to win the Masters. The odds were against Ballesteros surviving the halfway cut after a first round of 74 and the forecast was even gloomier after he went to the turn in 39.

He was paired with the 63-year-old Arnold Palmer and, apart from 27 years, there was nothing between them. Palmer, who also shot 74 in the first round, also went to the turn in 39 but then Ballesteros, who has been bedevilled this season by back trouble, found his putting touch. He birdied the 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th to come home in 31 and his round of 70 put him at level par for the tournament.

Ballesteros, who named his company after Amen Corner, was astonishingly erratic, even by his standards, over the opening holes. He was in the trees on the left at the first hole where he recorded a bogey five and at the par-five second his three-wood approach careered so far left his ball finished on the eighth fairway.

Ballesteros was wearing a sun visor but whereas it was appropriate to keep the sun out his eyes on Thursday he had no need of it yesterday. The weather was dark, gloomy and cold and Ballesteros said that when he walked down the 10th he felt 46, not 36. The clouds lifted, at least from his horizon, when he sank a putt of around 30 feet for a birdie three at the 11th.

'I said to my caddie that I would have to start making a few birdies if I was to have a chance of making the cut,' Ballesteros said. 'Once that putt went in I started to play fantastic golf.' He has never bettered 31 strokes for the back nine and it could have been 29. He missed a putt of five feet at the 14th and another of three feet at the 18th. He too hit a seven-iron at the Golden Bell to a couple of feet for a two and was a matter of centimetres from making an eagle at the 15th. At the 16th, a hole which in recent years has ruined his card - he four-putted it on two occasions - he had another two.

Ballesteros is two strokes behind Greg Norman and Fuzzy Zoeller, who made progress with rounds of 68 and 67 respectively. Palmer shot 78 and with an aggregate of 152, eight-over par, he missed the cut. Stephen Dundas also put his clubs away for the weekend after a round of 83. His aggregate was 161, 17 over par. 'Once again I made a bad start and my confidence drained,' the 19-year-old amateur champion from Galsgow said. 'I'm determined to come back here and I don't want to return as a spectator.' For the next two days, however, Dundas, who intends to turn professional later this year, will be a face in the crowd, watching the survivors play the final two rounds.

Nick Price of Zimbabwe headed for home after an 81 that included a quadruple-bogey eight on the 14th, a hole which has neither water nor sand.

Colin Montgomerie was at one under par for the tournament on 143, while Ian Woosnam, who had a 74, was one over. Montgomerie, who was playing behind Faldo, watched the Englishman's disaster unfold on the 12th and then hit his tee shot at the Golden Bell to within three feet of the hole. However, Montgomerie missed the putt, which would have given him a third successive birdie. In all six rounds so far at Augusta National, Montgomerie has scored between 70 and 73. 'I've got to shoot something in the sixties,' the Scotsman said.

Jose-Maria Olazabal, the runner-up here to Woosnam in 1991, shot 72 yesterday to stand at two under par, and Sandy Lyle, the champion in 1988, had a 71. On 144, Lyle is at level par.

Maggert, from Montana, is in only his fourth season as a professional and he qualified for the Masters by finishing sixth in the US PGA Championship last year.

(Photograph omitted)

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