AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jordan Spieth is making the Masters look easy.
He opened with a 64 despite making a bogey at the easiest hole on the course. He followed with a bogey-free 66 in which he missed a pair of 6-foot birdie putts. He still broke the 36-hole Masters record that had stood for 39 years. His five-shot lead matched another Masters record.
For two rounds, he has 15 birdies, one bogey and no worries.
The plan Friday afternoon for the 21-year-old Texan was to hang out with his family and some high school friends from Dallas, “taking it easy and hopefully just acting like nothing’s going on.”
Don’t be fooled. He knows exactly what’s happened at Augusta National. And he knows the hard work is about to start.
“This is just the halfway point,” Spieth said.
He was at 14-under 130, a two-day total matched by three other players in major championship history and breaking the Masters mark set by Raymond Floyd in 1976. His five-shot lead over Charley Hoffman looked even larger considering that Spieth was a runner-up in his Masters debut a year ago, and he came to Augusta this year as the hottest player in the game.
It sure got the attention of the best player in the game.
Rory McIlroy went from trying to complete the career Grand Slam to trying to stick around for the weekend after a 40 on the front nine. He rallied with a 31 on the back nine to make it easily, though he was still 12 shots behind Spieth.
“It’s really, really impressive,” McIlroy said. “I think a few guys can still catch him. It will take, obviously, something extraordinary from myself to get up there, but you never know. I know better than most people what can happen with the lead around here.”
McIlroy lost a four-shot lead in the final round in 2011.
Tiger Woods broke 70 at Augusta National for the first time since 2011. He had a 69 and joined McIlroy at 142, only his outlook was more upbeat.
“I’m still right there,” Woods said. “I’m 12 back, but there’s not a lot of guys ahead of me. And with 36 holes here to go, anything can happen — ‘96 proved that. So we have a long way to go.”
He was referring to Greg Norman losing a six-shot lead on the final day in 1996.
Spieth might find comfort in another reference.
The three other players who had a five-shot lead after 36 holes at Augusta — Herman Keiser in 1946, Jack Nicklaus in 1975 and Floyd in 1976. All went on to win.