Rahm takes the lead for Masters within the second spherical

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© Reuters. The master

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By Andrew Both

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Spanish runner-up Jon Rahm took the lead in the late second round of the Masters on Saturday and used the ideal morning conditions to shoot a six-under-par-66.

Prepared to win a major championship, Rahm, 26, was among the 48 players who resumed the round at 7:30 a.m. at Augusta National when the tournament rushed to return after Thursday’s long break due to bad weather to be on schedule.

Rahm returned on the 13th with a birdie putt and patted him home on the smooth green. He was later helped by a chip-in on the 15th par-5, which parried for the second lowest score of the round.

In a crowded ranking, he joined Americans Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, Australian Cameron Smith and Mexican Abraham Ancer at nine under 135 years old in a crowded ranking.

Five more were one stroke back while defending champion and five-time winner Tiger Woods (71) was four back.

Bryson DeChambeau, 74, the pre-tournament favorite, made the cut with nothing to spare, nine strokes back after playing the last two holes.

He then said he felt “weird” and, as a precaution, had a coronavirus test on Friday evening. It came back negative.

Rahm, meanwhile, had plenty of time to think about his first putt of the day after choosing not to putt when the game was interrupted by darkness on Friday.

“I didn’t want to end the day on the wrong note. I wasn’t sure what I had read,” he said.

“I came out today and it felt like a different putt, with the greens being a lot faster.”

Rahm greeted fellow countryman Jose Maria Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion, for helping his short game.

His sharpness was shown on the 15th when, having misjudged his third shot and hurled it across the green, he was in danger of scoring a large number.

He misjudged his 20 yard pitch but more than made up for it until he quietly broke off from half that distance.

“Let’s just say he saved me a few shots,” Rahm said of Olazabal.

The third round is scheduled to start around 10.30 a.m. At this point the morning chill in the air should have given way to a pleasant autumn warmth. The round should be completed by the end of the day.

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