Masters notes: Spieth gives Augusta fans a chance to see history

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Frank DeBorde of Atlanta followed Tiger Woods for one hole during the second round of the Masters Tournament. His attention the rest of the time was on Jordan Spieth, realizing he was witnessing golf history in the making.

After Spieth rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 13th hole, DeBorde turned to his son, Frankie, and said, “This is a historic round, we have to watch,” as they walked ahead to get a viewing spot along the 14th fairway.

“This is special,” DeBorde, a lawyer attending the Masters for the ninth time, said in an interview. “We were here to see Tiger win one time years ago when if felt like he was ahead by 20. This has the same feel.”

Spieth’s performance over the first two days at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia is indeed reminiscent of four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods in his prime. With 15 birdies and a score of 14-under-par 130 heading into the weekend, Spieth broke the tournament’s 36-hole scoring record set by Ray Floyd in 1976.

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After Spieth finished Augusta National’s “Amen Corner” with his sixth birdie of the day, another father turned to his son and urged him to move quickly to the 14th hole, saying, “Let’s go watch him birdie 14 and 15.”

Spieth was followed throughout the day by a throng of fans, many of whom marveled at the play of a youngster who two years ago at this time was ranked 220th in the world. He’s now fourth and could climb to No. 2 with a victory.

“It’s great to see the 20-somethings making noise in the game of golf,” said 26-year-old Atlanta resident Dan Gower as he followed Spieth’s group. “We’re watching history.”

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Mark O’Meara, the 1998 Masters winner, put himself in position to make the cut for weekend play for the first time in 10 years with a 4-under-par 68 during the second round.

The 58-year-old O’Meara last shot under 70 at the Masters in 2001 and said he hopes his performance provided some incentive for Woods, a close friend with whom he played two practice rounds earlier in the week.

“He probably saw my name go up on the board and he’s like, ‘I can’t let the old man beat me, I better play good today,'” joked O’Meara, who is 3 under overall. “Hopefully I’ll play well on the weekend.”

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Henrik Stenson, the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world, was paired with Spieth for the second straight day and came away especially impressed with the youngster’s maturity.

“He’s definitely an old head on young shoulders, isn’t he?” the 39-year-old Stenson said after his second straight round of 73. “He’s playing strategically. He’s playing very mature. And not making too many mistakes.”

Augusta National typically requires extensive experience and while Spieth is thriving, Stenson is still learning. He’s 2- over through 36 holes this week and has failed to finish below par in nine previous appearances.

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While golf shirts and hats with the Masters logo are the most popular purchases at the Augusta National merchandise shops during tournament week, there’s also an array of high-priced items for spectators to bring home with them.

Framed photos of the par-3 12th or 16th holes are available for $525. An alligator wallet with the Masters logo runs $495, while crystal martini glasses — green, of course — are $175 for a pair. Dooney & Bourke bags range from $200 to $300.

A leather pillow with a picture of the Augusta National clubhouse costs $195, while a pair of sterling silver Masters cuff-links made by Tiffany & Co. is $350.

And for those who want to try to get player autographs in style? There’s a Montblanc Fountain Meister Pen with a small Masters logo on the side that will run you $950.