AUGUSTA, Ga. — Bernd Wiesberger began Friday’s Masters second round nine shots behind first-round leader Justin Rose. No player in Masters history has overcome a deficit of more than seven shots after the first round.
Wiesberger, the 35-year-old from Austria playing in his sixth Masters, has a chance to erase that record, turning that large deficit upside down on Friday with a 6-under-par 66 to vault himself to a tie for the lead at 4-under at the time his round was completed.
Wiesberger, who began the day 2-over par and was 5-under through his first eight holes Friday, got some help from first-day leader Justin Rose.
Rose, who shot 65 on Thursday and had a four-shot lead over his nearest competitors, struggled early in his second round, falling back to 4-under by the time he made the turn.
Wiesberger said because of COVID-19 restrictions his family had to remain back home in Austria and was unable to come to Augusta to support him.
“I’m quite sorry they’re not here to see this,’’ he said. “I’m sure they’ve been watching at home and are pretty excited with my best-ever round at Augusta. I’ll have a nice little group glass of wine later.’’
Wiesberger made the cut in the previous five Masters in which he’s played, but he’s never contended, finishing 22nd, 34th, 43rd, 24th and 58th last year.
Now he enters the weekend in the thick of contention.
Wiesberger lamented “too many mistakes and unforced errors in his opening round’’ and corrected that Friday — particularly on the greens.
“I really putted well on the first 10 holes and holed a lot of putts to get a really good round started,’’ he said. “If I can keep my momentum going on the greens, I’m really looking forward to the weekend.’’
Asked if he saw his name on the scoreboards during his hot round Friday, Wiesberger said, “Seeing your name on the scoreboard is nice, but Friday morning doesn’t mean much right now.’