Were Justin Rose to gaze back over his shoulder at the dazzling cavalry charging behind him halfway through the Masters — okay, maybe he ought not gaze back over his shoulder at the dazzling cavalry. The view is a marvel but also a horror.

Among the two threats one shot behind and the two threats two shots behind and the six behind by three and the one behind by four and others within reach, there are enough viable winners and stirring story lines that it’s hard to process them all. With such fright back there, it’s small solace that the contenders lack defending champion Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, who flailed uncharacteristically, treaded water around the cut line and then bogeyed the last two holes to fall out of the weekend.

Behind Rose after he steadied himself Friday to yo-yo from 7 under par to 4 under par and back to 7 under par, there’s Jordan Spieth, the hip pick to win because of his former champion’s intricate knowledge and his win last week in Texas suggesting repair after three years of struggle with golf’s meanness. He stood 5 under par after his 68 on Friday and told reporters in Augusta, Ga., “I came in thinking [I could win],” and, “I’m in position now to think that for sure, but at the halfway point, I would have been pleased with being two back.”

There’s Justin Thomas, of course, for whom any eventual win at the Masters already would qualify as expected, given his 2017 PGA Championship and his 2021 Players and a bunch of other evidence. He stood at 4 under after his 67 and said, “I just need to get in my own little zone and my own little game, and I feel like if I do that well, I should have a pretty good chance.”

There’s Tony Finau, the nice man who keeps finishing second or close to second, who stood at 4 under and who said of getting close but not quite getting there, “It keeps me hungry, it keeps me humble.” There’s Collin Morikawa at 2 under par with the game always ready to go from merely sublime to more sublime. Witness his closing 65-64 as he won the 2020 PGA Championship.

Peering behind Rose, you have to notice guys who haven’t won a major yet but figure to someday even given the mathematical improbabilities of so many extraordinary players and so few majors (four) per year. They include Xander Schauffele, whose first 14 majors include seven hollering top-10 finishes. They include Hideki Matsuyama at 4 under at age 29 after seven top-10 finishes in majors already as he aims to bring Japan a first male major title. They include Marc Leishman, the 37-year-old Australian at 5 under who already finished tied for fourth at the 2013 Masters and who said: “This is the position I wanted to be in. My game’s finally feeling good,” even as he also said it would take two low rounds to win and said, “I mean, there’s so many good players.”

And they include Si Woo Kim, the 25-year-old from Seoul who won the Players at 21 and stands at 4 under.

They include the two guys at 6 under. There’s Brian Harman, the Savannah-born, University of Georgia-schooled 34-year-old who finished second at the 2017 U.S. Open in Wisconsin but knows the air so intricately in Georgia. And there’s Will Zalatoris, the 24-year-old charger from San Francisco and Wake Forest, whose 68 followed a 70 to giggle at the applicable phrase “his first Masters,” and who said, “I wanted to be here my entire life,” that entirety not yet considerable.

As if that weren’t enough, there are two Camerons when one would have sufficed for fearsomeness. Cameron Champ, at 4 under, looks like a comet and finished 10th at the 2020 PGA, and Cameron Smith, the Australian who finished second to Johnson at the Masters in November, has four major top-10s already.

Even U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, whose struggles around Augusta have developed their own identity, found his way to 1 under par even as he said, “Yeah, I don’t think you can ever figure this place out. There’s so many things going on around here,” and then spoke of wind.

That’s a lot to glimpse without wincing, but at least Rose, 40, the 2013 U.S. Open champion and 2017 Masters runner-up in a playoff, showed Friday he could stare down himself. After his 65 on Thursday and his eagle and seven birdies between holes Nos. 8 and 17 represented “some of the best golf I’ve ever seen,” as Spieth told ESPN, Rose started out in a way that showed how golf can get sore and exact penance for such. He bogeyed Nos. 1, 4, 6 and 7 and birdied No. 2. He needed “a good two-putt on No. 9 just to stop the rut,” he said.

“I was joking [that] the finger was heading toward the panic button a little bit,” he told reporters in Augusta. “I had a little talk with myself on 8 and said, ‘You’re still leading the Masters,’ and I just changed my mind-set a little bit and started to play match play against the golf course. I scratched a line on my scorecard and told myself I was three down and could I go ahead and beat the golf course from that point on. I had a putt on 18 to win my match 1-up, but unfortunately it just slipped by. But an honorable draw.”

Rose said, “You can see the leader board and who is stacking up behind, and I feel like there’s a lot of firepower there where you can’t ever really hold anyone back to a number.”

Or you can always refrain from looking.

— Chuck Culpepper

Justin Rose hangs on to lead after second round

12:10 a.m.
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Justin Rose is no longer well ahead of the pack at the Masters, but given how he started his second round Friday — with four bogeys leading to a 3-over start through seven holes — he’s likely very happy to still be atop the field.

As he did in his blistering round of 65 on Thursday, Rose got hot down the stretch Friday and left the course with an even round that kept him at 7-under for the tournament. Whereas he had a 4-shot lead over his closest pursuers following the first round, he now enters the weekend one shot ahead of Brian Harman and Will Zalatoris, with Marc Leishman and Jordan Spieth two back at 5-over.

After that quintet, six players are bunched at 4-under, including Tony Finau, Justin Thomas and Si Woo Kim, who played the final four holes without his putter. Kim broke that club after making a three-putt at No. 14 and was forced to use his 3-wood on the final four greens.

Some big names missed the cut, most notably Dustin Johnson, who set a record at 20-under en route to winning the pandemic-delayed 2020 Masters just five months ago. His bogeys at Nos. 17 and 18 pushed him two shots over the cut line at 5-over, while Rory McIlroy needed a pair of late birdies Friday just to get to 6-over.

McIlroy star missed the cut at the Masters for the first time since 2010, and Brooks Koepka (5-over) missed his first cut at a major since the 2013 British Open, although he could blame knee surgery last month for visibly hindering his performance.

Rose tees off at 2:20 p.m. Saturday in the final third-round group with Zalatoris. Harman and Leishman form the penultimate pairing and tee off at 2:10. The forecast for Saturday calls for scattered thunderstorms developing in the afternoon with highs in the low 80s.

Here are the tee times for every player within six strokes of the lead:

12:40 — Stewart Cink (-1), Viktor Hovland (-1)

1:00 — Bryson DeChambeau (-1), Matt Jones (-1)

1:10 — Corey Connors (-2), Collin Morikawa (-2)

1:20 — Ryan Palmer (-2), Cameron Smith (-2)

1:30 — Xander Schauffele (-3), Hideki Matsuyama (-4)

1:40 — Cameron Champ (-4), Si Woo Kim (-4)

1:50 — Tony Finau (-4), Justin Thomas (-4)

2:00 — Jordan Spieth (-5), Bernd Wiesberger (-4)

2:10 — Brian Harman (-6), Marc Leishman (-5)

2:20 — Justin Rose (-7), Will Zalatoris (-6)

Matthew Wolff disqualified for signing incorrect scorecard

11:04 p.m.
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The Masters announced that Matthew Wolff was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. Wolff, 21, was said to have “returned a scorecard with a hole score lower than he actually made on hole 17.”

Wolff was set to miss the cut after a 7-over-par 79 on Friday left him at 11-over for the tournament. The winner of the 2019 3M Open, Wolff missed the cut last year in his first appearance at the Masters but finished second at the 2020 U.S. Open and tied for fourth at last year’s PGA Championship.

Jon Rahm gets to even at No. 17, Rory McIlroy at 6-over

10:52 p.m.
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Jon Rahm made a birdie at No. 17 to get to even par, leaving him seven shots behind leader Justin Rose. Playing in the same threesome, Rory McIlroy was 6-over as the group went to the 18th hole.

Rahm alternated three bogeys and three birdies between holes 5 and 17 on Friday. The third member of the group, Zander Schauffele, was at 3-under going to 18, following birdies at Nos. 13 and 17.

McIlroy shot 4-over-par on Thursday and after a double bogey Friday at No. 10 he was at 8-over for the tournament. He birdied Nos. 13 and 15 but will miss the cut at the Masters for the first time since 2010.

Dustin Johnson in danger of missing cut after bogey at No. 17

10:36 p.m.
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Five months ago, Dustin Johnson won the Masters with a record total of 20-under. After a bogey at No. 17 on Friday, he is in grave danger of missing the cut.

That dropped stroke left Johnson at 4-over, with the cut appearing to be one shot better. The top 50 plus ties make the cut at the 88-player event. Johnson likely needs to make a birdie at 18 to get to the weekend at Augusta.

Brooks Koepka will likely miss cut after playing on injured knee

10:30 p.m.
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The last time Brooks Koepka missed the cut at a major in which he teed off was at the 2013 British Open. It took over 2,800 days and a knee injury, but the four-time major winner is set to get plenty of rest this weekend after finishing his second round Friday at 5-over.

That’s two strokes above the projected cut line with relatively few players still on the course. In some ways, just competing at this year’s Masters was an impressive feat for Koepka given that he underwent knee surgery on March 16.

“I’ve got to do it,” Koepka, who finished second at the 2019 Masters, said Tuesday. “No other option, is there?”

The 30-year-old Florida native was clearly hindered at Augusta, where he could be seen limping around the hilly course.

Viktor Hovland chips in at Nos. 15 and 17, finishes at 1-under

10:14 p.m.
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Viktor Hovland caught fire in the closing stretch Friday, sandwiching chip-ins at Nos. 15 and 17, the former for an eagle, around another birdie at 16. That 4-under burst over three holes and a par at No. 18 got him to 1-under for the tournament.

Hovland, who started the day at 1-over, made birdies at Nos. 2 and 3 but bogeyed Nos. 5, 9 and 11 and double-bogeyed the sixth hole. That left him at 4-over when he got to the 13th hole, but a birdie there and the torrid streak shortly thereafter have him in no danger of missing the cut.

A native of Norway who played collegiately at Oklahoma State, the 23-year-old Hovland won the 2018 U.S. Amateur and his two PGA Tour victories.

Si Woo Kim uses 3-wood on final four greens, stays at 4-under

9:40 p.m.
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We’ll never know if Si Woo Kim might have sunk a long putt and picked up a stroke on any of his final four holes Friday, but he didn’t lose any ground despite not having the use of his putter.

After breaking the club in a moment of frustration following a three-putt bogey at No. 14, Kim opted to use his 3-wood on the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th greens. He made par at all four holes to finish his round at 4-under for the tournament and tied for fourth.

Some analysts on the ESPN broadcast said that were they in the same position, they might have tried to putt with a club such as a pitching wedge that would be closer in length and weight to the putter.

Brian Harman moves into tie for second at 6-under

9:26 p.m.
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Brian Harman began the day tied for second and that’s how he ended it. The difference was that he was still four shots off Justin Rose’s pace on Thursday, while he was just one back of Rose after Friday’s round.

Other golfers still on the course had chances to alter the situation, but after Harman birdied 18 he was in rare air at Augusta. Only Will Zalatoris was as close to the lead at that point as the 34-year-old Georgia native.

Harman birdied Nos. 13, 17 and 18 to get himself into great position going into the weekend. Before that, he birdied No. 2 and No. 7 while bogeying Nos. 3 and 11.

Reportedly the final player to make it into the field of 88 at the Masters, Harman could well be playing in one of the two final groups on Saturday. In his previous two starts on the PGA Tour, he finished third at the Players Championship and fifth at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Will Zalatoris one off lead after hot finish

9:08 p.m.
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Will Zalatoris birdied the last three holes and five of his final eight to reach 6-under for the tournament, just one shot behind leader Justin Rose.

Zalatoris, a 24-year-old in his first full season on the PGA Tour, made a bogey at No. 9 before his string of birdies pushed him into sole possession of second place. He carded a 4-under-par 68 after posting a round of 2-under on Thursday.

If Zalatoris goes on to win in his first appearance at the Masters, he would be the fourth to do so and the first since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. The others were Horton Smith in 1934 and Gene Sarazen in 1935.

“Kind of the joke that I’ve been saying with my family is if I’m stupid enough to think I can play here,” Zalatoris said after the first round, “then I’m stupid enough to think I can win it.”

Si Woo Kim breaks putter, uses 3-wood on 16th green

8:55 p.m.
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Si Woo Kim was forced to use his 3-wood to attempt a putt on the 16th green. Kim could have used any of his clubs except his putter, which he broke in a moment of frustration after an earlier three-putt.

Kim managed to two-putt for par at the 16th. He remains tied for third at 4-under.

Cameron Champ, Hideki Matsuyama join large group at 4-under

8:48 p.m.
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A large group at 4-under was starting to form during the second half of the second round at the Masters. The latest to share in a giant tie for third were Cameron Champ and Hideki Matsuyama, although the group lost a member when Will Zalatoris birdied 17 to jump up to a tie for second at 5-under.

Matsuyama, who started the day tied for second at 3-under, chipped in for an eagle at 12 to reach 4-under. He previously bogeyed holes 5 and 10, and birdied No. 9.

Champ, who started the day even for the tournament, made birdies at 1, 2, 4, 6, 13 and 14, offset a bit by bogeys at 7 and 11. At 4-under, he and Matsuyama joined Tony Finau, Justin Thomas and Bernd Wiesberger, who had finished their rounds, and Brian Harman and Si Woo Kim, who were still on the course.

Dustin Johnson at 3-over through 10 holes

8:37 p.m.
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Defending Masters champion Dustin Johnson was right at the projected cut line of 3-over through an up-and-down 10 holes.

The 36-year-old American, who set a record at the tournament in November with a total score of 20-under, has made par at just two holes Friday during a 1-over start to the second round. Johnson bogeyed holes 1, 6 and 10, made double bogey at 5 and birdied holes 3, 4, 8 and 9.

Si Woo Kim charges up leaderboard before lip-out

8:17 p.m.
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Korean star Si Woo Kim made a big move up the leader board and was tied for second at 5-under through 13 holes before dropping a stroke at 14. That put him three strokes behind tournament leader Justin Rose, and level with Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Tony Finau and Justin Thomas.

Kim, a 25-year-old whose three PGA Tour victories include the 2017 Players Championship, most recently won the American Express in January. On Friday, he started at 1-under before making birdies at holes No. 3, 6, 8 and 13.

At No. 14, Kim had a short par putt lip out. It was his first bogey of the day, with four holes left to go.

Jordan Spieth’s late charge leaves him tied for second

8:06 p.m.
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Fresh off his win at last week’s Valero Texas Open, Jordan Spieth is in prime position to make a run at his second green jacket. The 2015 Masters champion shot 4 under on Friday to get to 5 under for the tournament, good for a tie for second place with Marc Leishman and Si Woo Kim. Justin Rose remains atop the leader board at 7 under. Spieth made five birdies and one bogey Friday, with all but one of his birdies coming on the back nine.

Tony Finau and Justin Thomas both bogeyed No. 18 to fall to 4 under for the tournament. That left them in a tie for fifth place with Bernd Wiesberger and Brian Harman.