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Golf: Bubba grabs Masters lead with five-birdie streak

A magnificent run of five consecutive birdies on the back nine powered 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson to a three-stroke lead after Friday's second round of the 78th Masters. With a dazzling display of precision on one of golf's most intimidating layouts, the 35-year-old US left-hander fired a four-under par 68 to stand on seven-under 137 after 36 holes at Augusta National.

Slick Masters conditions remind Olazabal of 1999

By Mark Lamport-Stokes AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Jose Maria Olazabal's victory at the 1999 Masters is often referenced as the last time Augusta National played fast and firm throughout the tournament but the Spaniard believes this year's edition could match it. Despite the heavy rain and lightning on Monday that forced practice to be suspended after just two hours, the heavily contoured layout has since quickened in pace after four successive days of bright sunshine and swirling winds.

Golf: Bubba three clear at Masters

Bubba Watson ripped off five birdies in a row from the 12th hole to take a three-shot lead in the second round of the Masters at Augusta National on Friday. The 2012 winner started the day one back of Bill Haas, who led overnight with a 68. He reached the turn in level-par 36, but went on a roll from the par-3 12th in the heart of the feared Amen Corner. He dropped one at the last after a wayward approach, but by that time the damage on the rest of the field had been done. Closest to him, three back, was Australian John Senden, who had three holes to play.

Golf: Bubba in command after Masters birdie binge

Bubba Watson, seeking his second Masters title in three seasons, seized command in Friday's second round at Augusta National with five birdies in a row on the back nine. The 35-year-old American left-hander, who beat Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff for the 2012 crown, fired a four-under par 68 to stand on seven-under 137 after 36 holes, grabbing a three-shot lead over Australian John Senden in quest for his second career major title.

Golf: Haas holds firm at Masters

Bill Haas was sitting tight atop the leaderboard as he teed off in the second round of the Masters on Friday. The 31-year-old American carded a four-under 68 on Thursday and he had the luxury of being able to sit back and see who could challenge him early on at Augusta National. Several players tried and at one stage Australian Marc Leishman overhauled him at five under, but he promptly bogeyed the next two holes.

Golf: Bubba in command after Masters birdie binge

Bubba Watson, who needed 22 months to win again after a 2012 Masters triumph, birdied five holes in a row on the back nine Friday to seize command of the 78th Masters. The 35-year-old American fired a four-under par 68 Friday to stand on seven-under 137 and grab a three-shot lead over Bill Haas in the second round at Augusta National. There has never been a longer birdie run before the weekend than Watson's streak in Masters history and only five longer ones at any stage in tournament history.

Golf: Scott, McIlroy launch late charge at Masters

Defending Masters champion Adam Scott and two-time major winner Rory McIlroy teed off Friday at Augusta National chasing Bubba Watson, who fired three birdies in a row to seize command. Watson, the 2012 Masters champion, topped the leaderboard at six under. He birdied the seventh but took his first bogey of the tournament at the ninth, then torched Amen Corner for birdies at the par-3 12th and par-5 13th and added another at 14 to move two shots clear.

Golf: Bubba goes four clear at Masters

Bubba Watson ripped off five birdies in a row from the 12th hole to take a four-shot lead in the second round of the Masters at Augusta National on Friday. The 2012 winner, who stood on eight under with two holes to play, started the day one back of Bill Haas, who led overnight with a 68. He reached the turn in level-par 36, but went on a roll from the par-3 12th in the heart of the feared Amen Corner. Closest to him, four back, was late-starter Haas, who bogeyed the first but got that shot back at the second.

Golf: Oosthuizen takes lead in Masters

Louis Oosthuizen eagled the 13th hole at Augusta National on Friday to take a share of the lead at four under in the second round of the Masters. The 2010 British Open champion started the day one off the pace set by Bill Haas, who was not due out untill later in the afternoon. But he fell back with bogeys at four and seven before rebounding with a birdie at eight and the eagle at 13. Level with him on four under were Kevin Stadler through five holes and Jonas Blixt of Sweden after four.

Golf: Bubba leads at Masters

Bubba Watson birdied the seventh hole at Augusta National on Friday to take a share of the lead in the second round of the Masters. The champion two years ago opened with six straight pars before moving level on four under with overnight leader Bill Haas, who was not due out until later in the afternoon. Australian March Leishman briefly held the overall lead at five under after three opening birdies, but back-to-back birdies at four and five pegged him back on another day of clear blue skies and warm sunshine at Augusta National.
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