Virtual Masters Round 2: Goalby’s revenge

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10: Bob Goalby, Ben Crenshaw of the United States and Jay Haas share some time before the second round of the 2015 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10: Bob Goalby, Ben Crenshaw of the United States and Jay Haas share some time before the second round of the 2015 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images) /

The winner of the most controversial Masters in history seizes the surprise Friday lead

The Masters win, and only Major championship of Bob Goalby’s career may also be the most controversial title in Major Tournament history.

Now, more than a half-century after that memorably disputed finish, Goalby finds himself a surprised leader of the first “virtual Major” ever played.

Goalby turned in a 67 during Friday’s second round of the virtual Masters to assume a one-stroke lead over three greats. His 36-hole total of 133 is 11-under par at virtual Augusta National.

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A Goalby victory would represent a first-rate surprise given that he began play as one of the longest of longshots in the 52-player field. The virtual Masters pits the 52 former Masters champions, each of their virtual performances based on the statistical average of their actual play at Augusta National during their 10-season peak periods.

Goalby qualified by winning the notorious 1968 Masters. For those who may not recall, he finished with an 11-under 277 that year, apparently putting him in an 18-hole playoff against Argentinian golfer Roberto DeVicenzo.

But shortly after DeVicenzo completed his round, it was discovered that DeVicenzo had incorrectly signed for a par 4 on the 17th hole Sunday rather than the birdie three he had actually made. Because of that, DeVicenzo’s final round of 65 was changed to a 66 and he was consigned to second place, one stroke behind Goalby.

In the virtual Masters, Goalby – coming off a first-round 66 that left him two strokes behind Ben Hogan — played unevenly. He recorded three bogeys, but offset those with eight birdies, three on Augusta’s four par fives.

Goalby also benefitted from the sudden hiccup that befell first-round leader Hogan at the 14th hole. Stoically protecting the two-stroke lead he had forged on Thursday and with just one bogey through his first 31 holes, Hogan pulled his drive up against a tree, was forced to chip back into the fairway, then laid his approach onto the 14th green’s imposing false front. The ball rolled back onto the fringe.

From there Hogan chipped indifferently to 20 feet from the pin and then drove his first putt six feet long, missing the comebacker for a triple bogey seven.

His second-round 70 consigned him to that three-way tie for second with three-time Masters champions Gary Player and Jimmy Demaret, all at -10.

Another trio, Phil Mickelson, Ralph Guldahl and Horton Smith, lagged two more strokes back at -8. Arnold Palmer and Adam Scott were four strokes back at -7, with Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Cary Middlecoff all at -6.

A large group at -5 included most of the other pre-tournament favorites, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, and Tom Watson.

Player made perhaps the biggest move Friday, starting the day in a tie for 13th and producing a 65 that stood as Friday’s best round. His card featured three eagles, at the par 5 2nd, the par 5 13th, and the par 4 7th, where he slam-dunked an 8-iron from the fairway.

Those shots offset four bogeys – at the 3rd, 4th, 8th, and 16th – that prevented Player’s score from veering into the realm of the truly spectacular. He also birdied the 5th, 6th, 9th, 12th, 16th, and 17th. He recorded only five pars all day.

Demaret, the 1940, 1947 and 1950 champion, had a spectacular moment of its own. At the uphill par five 8th, Demaret’s three-wood approach found the bottom of the cup for a rare double eagle two. That jet-propelled his second round 67, which also included seven birdies and four bogeys along with just six pars.

Woods, who began the day tied for 19th at 2-under, also moved into contention with a Friday 68. In Woods’ case, that score was built on six birdies offset by only two bogeys. Still, the five-time Masters champion might have left the course wondering at what might have been. Five-under for the round following a birdie two at the challenging 12th hole, Woods’ momentum suddenly stalled, playing the final six holes in one over par.

As with Thursday’s opening round, Friday’s play featured a series of noteworthy shots, including a hole-in-one. Gene Sarazen made it at the par three 6th. The rest of Sarazen’s day, sadly, did not go nearly as well. Despite the ace, he shot 74, leaving him at four-over 148, 15 strokes behind the leader.

Others holing out from the fairway on par fours included Claude Harmon at the 1st on his way to a 67, Craig Stadler and Tom Watson both at the 9th on their way to 71 and 68 respectively, Zach Johnson at the 11th on his way to 73, and Nick Faldo at the 18th on his way to a 68.

Hogan’s flub on 14 was the most substantive big number made Friday, but not the only one. Tommy Aaron came to the 12th hole five-under for the day and in contention. Two wet balls later he left with a quadruple bogey seven. Aaron wound up with a 73.

Tom Watson also ran into trouble at the 12th, recording a triple bogey six. Coming off two birdies and an eagle on the previous three holes, Watson still managed a 68.

Trevor Immelman took a triple bogey seven at the 7th hole, as did Billy Casper at the 11th.

Here are the leaders’ Friday cards.

Hole                      1 2 3    4 5 6   7 8 9   10 11 12   13 14 15   16 17 18

Par                        4 5 4    3 4 3   4 5 4     4   4   3      5   4   5      3   4   4 — 72

Goalby                  4 4 5    3 3 3   3 4 4     3   4   2      5   5   4      2   5   4 — 67

Demaret              5 4 3    2 5 3   4 2 5    3    3   5      4   4   4      3   4   4 — 67

Hogan                  3 5 4    2 3 4   4 4 4    3    3   3      4   7   5      3   4   5 — 70

Player                  4 3 5    5 3 2    2 6 3    4   4    2     3   3   5      4   3   4 —  65

Scores through Friday

Bob Goalby                         66-67-133            -11

Jimmy Demaret                 67-67-134            -10

Ben Hogan                          64-70-134            -10

Gary Player                         69-65-134            -10

Ralph Guldahl                    66-70-136               -8

Phil Mickelson                   66-70-136               -8

Horton Smith                     65-71-136              -8

Arnold Palmer                   67-70-137              -7

Adam Scott                         69-68-137             -7

Cary Middlecoff                 66-72-138             -6

Jack Nicklaus                      69-69-138             -6

Tiger Woods                       70-68-138             -6

Fred Couples                      69-70-139             -5

Ray Floyd                            71-68-139             -5

Byron Nelson                     67-72-139             -5

Henry Picard                      67-72-139             -5

Vijay Singh                          69-70-139             -5

Sam Snead                         65-74-139             -5

Tom Watson                      71-68-139             -5

Ian Woosnam                    72-67-139             -5

Tommy Aaron                    68-73-141             -3

Nick Faldo                           73-68-141             -3

Claude Harmon                 74-67-141             -3

Herman Keiser                  74-67-141             -3

Larry Mize                           72-69-141            -3

Ben Crenshaw                   72-70-142             -2

Charl Schwartzel               72-70-142            -2

Jordan Spieth                     72-71-143            -1

George Archer                   70-74-144              E

Gay Brewer                        69-75-144              E

Sergio Garcia                     74-70-144              E

Mike Weir                           75-69-144              E

Seve Ballesteros               71-74-145           +1

Zach Johnson                     72-73-145           +1

Bernhard Langer              79-66-145            +1

Mark O’Meara                  70-75-145             +1

Craig Stadler                     74-71-145            +1

Doug Ford                         72-74-146             +2

Fuzzy Zoeller                    71-75-146            +2

Sandy Lyle                         71-76-147           +3

Jose Maria Olazabal        78-69-147           +3

Jack Burke Jr.                     73-75-148           +4

Gene Sarazen                   74-74-148           +4

Billy Casper                       73-76-149           +5

Charles Coody                   71-78-149          +5

Art Wall Jr.                          75-74-149          +5

Miguel Angel Cabrera    76-74-150           +6

Craig Wood                       79-71-150           +6

Danny Willett                   72-79-151           +7

Trevor Immelman            80-74-154        +10

Patrick Reed                     75-79-154        +10

Bubba Watson                 79-77-156        +12

Next. Golf Tips: Practice Drills to Improve your Putting Game. dark

As we are now at the halfway point of the virtual Masters, plenty of eyes will be on Goalby and Demaret, as they look to hold off two of the all-time greats in Hogan and Player. There are plenty of other players in range as well, and round three is sure to bring excitement. Check back Saturday to see what goes down at Augusta.