Masters: Grading the second round at Augusta

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Jason Day will try to end the Australian drought at the Masters. (Getty Images)

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An Australian golfer has famously never won the Masters. We've had a winner from Fiji, one from Canada, one from Wales, yet never one from Australia.

Greg Norman came as close as anyone back in 1996 before his complete and utter collapse in the final round (a 78) gave Nick Faldo his third green jacket.

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But you know who has come closer since Norman in '96? How about Jason Day , who lost a wild finish in 2011 by just two shots to Charl Schwartzel.

Day is back in front at Augusta after withdrawing from the last year's Masters with an injury.

He has company from his home country as well. Marc Leishman shot a 1-over-par 73 on Friday to finish just one back, in a tie for second with Fred Couples .

Joining those two is another Australian -- Adam Scott shot a second-round 72 and sits just three off the lead in a tie for seventh.

Day, who started at 2 under for the day, made four birdies on the second nine to take the lead heading to Saturday.

He had a putt on No. 17 to get to 7 under (which would have knocked Tianlang Guan off the cut line, out of the tournament and potentially started an international incident) but finished with two pars for the best round of the day, a 68.

This is the first time that Day has led any round of a major golf tournament.

All three Australians are trying to end one of the more famous droughts in sports. The Cubs and Red Sox streaks it is not, but still, for a country that has had so many great golfers over the years, to go without a Masters champion in 76 tries is almost unthinkable.

The three Aussies seem fairly unflappable, too. Scott and Day have obviously been in this position before, but Leishman is new to the success. He told ESPN after his round that he kept looking at the leaderboard because he liked seeing his name up there.

I thought he'd shoot an 83 on Friday; he shot a 73 instead.

Can one of these three guys end the streak this week? Sure, but it's going to be awfully tough with the star-studded leaderboard they're looking at. 

Jim Furyk , Brandt Snedeker , Tiger Woods , Justin Rose , Lee Westwood  and K.J. Choi are all within three shots of the lead.

It was a Friday that felt like a Saturday with all the drama, which means I think we're in for a terrific weekend. 

Here are the grades for the second round:

A Fred Couples will not go away. He doesn't care that he's 53 and 53-year-olds aren't supposed to shoot back-to-back rounds under par in the first two rounds of the Masters. Couples backed up his 69 on Thursday with a 71 on Friday, and he'll play with the leaders as we go to Saturday. 
A Rory McIlroy posted a 70 early on Friday to anchor himself in a nice spot heading to the weekend. He was shaky at times (two bogeys in his first three holes) and brilliant at others (three birdies on the second nine).
A Jason Day backed up his first-round 70 with a second-round 68. He doesn't shy away from the moment, either (see: 2011 Masters). He'll be right in it the rest of the way.
A Jason Dufner is so boring you sometimes almost forget he's on the golf course, but not on Friday. He shot a 69 to get to 3 under for the tournament and only made seven pars on his round. 
B Tiger Woods probably left a shot or two on the course on Friday, but he's totally locked in right now. I wouldn't be surprised to see something ridiculously low out of him on Saturday. Only gets a B because we expect so much out of him.
B Marc Leishman doesn't look like he's going anywhere. He backed up his first-round 66 with a second-round 73 and will go to the weekend at the top of the leaderboard.
B Nick Watney shot an atrocious 78 on Thursday but bounced back nicely with a second-round-best 69 (tied with Dufner and Angel Cabrera ) on Friday. He doesn't get an "A" because he's just sneaking past the cut line, but he dominated a course that was handing out a lot of high scores early.
D One of the oddsmakers' favorites coming in, Louis Oosthuizen shot 74-76 to miss the cut after nearly winning this tournament last year. He actually made quite a few birdies but was undone by 10 bogeys in 36 holes. Very un-Oosthuizen-like. Which you don't want to try to say out loud.
D Bubba Watson narrowly escaped missing the cut at Augusta (which would have been the first time a defending champion missed since Mike Weir did it in 2004). He hasn't played well for quite a while now, but at least he'll get to stick around for the weekend to put the green jacket on somebody on Sunday night.
F Hunter Mahan shot an 80 at the PGA Championship at the end of 2012 to miss the cut, and he shot an 82 at Augusta on Friday. Mahan, who had four double bogeys on his round, finished worse than all but one of the six amateurs.

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CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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