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14-year-old Guan, defending champ Watson make Masters cut

By Ryan Wilson |

If not for Jason Day's missed birdie putt on 17, Bubba Watson and Tianlang Guan would be done. (USATSI)
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Jason Day heads into the weekend atop the leaderboard at the 77th Masters. An impressive 68 on Friday got him to 6 under for the tournament, one shot clear of Fred Couples and Marc Leishman.

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But for as well as Day played, he left at least one shot on the course. A fantastic approach into the 17th green left him a 10-footer for birdie, but his putt burned the left edge and he settled for par. Had Day gotten to 7 under there, 14-year-old Tianlang Guan and defending champion Bubba Watson would have missed the cut.

Instead, Guan, who has been one of the biggest stories at Augusta this week, and Watson, the emotional winner from a year ago, will tee it up for 36 more holes.

Both players head into Saturday at 4 over but took completely different routes to get there. Guan regularly found himself 30-40 yards behind his playing partners off the tee, but his precision iron play often made up for it. What he couldn't account for, however, was an overzealous rules official who deemed it necessary to assess Guan a one-stroke penalty for slow play on the 17th hole.

After the match, the official explained that Guan had first been warned on the 13th hole. Guan, to his credit, didn't make excuses.

"I respect the decision," the 14-year-old said.

Watson, meanwhile, found himself 6 over with seven holes to go. Four birdies, a par and two bogeys -- including one on No. 18 -- got him to 4 over for the week. And when Day knocked in his last put of Friday's round some 30 minutes later, not only did it mean Watson would play the weekend, he also avoided becoming the first defending champion since 2004 to miss the cut.

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