World number one Dustin Johnson and third-ranked Justin Thomas figure it might take an unusual approach to win the Masters, playing aggressive and tossing out what might normally work.
RECAP | Masters 2nd Round
The US duo shared the clubhouse lead on nine-under par 135 with Australian Cameron Smith and Mexico's Abraham Ancer.
Louis Oosthuizen was the highest ranked South African and tied for 9th and on -7 although he was one of 48 golfers were still to finish their second round.
Both Johnson and Thomas are hoping to win the green jacket symbolic of Masters supremacy for a second major crown, Johnson after his 2016 US Open title and Thomas after his 2017 PGA Championship victory.
Thomas has watched shots do unexpected things this week, a mix of rain-softened conditions and autumn weather requiring some adaptation from lessons learned over time at Augusta National.
"It's a lot softer and a lot more scorable, but it really has just come down to executing a little bit better and minimizing the mistakes," Thomas said.
"You really throw all past knowledge out the window, as weird as that is.
"It's not like I'm the only one that has to adjust or may be uncomfortable in certain situations. The entire field is dealing with the same thing."
Johnson, trying to become the first top-ranked Masters winner since Tiger Woods in 2002, is happy with his shotmaking but figures he must keep an attacking mindset even as the course becomes firmer after showers early in the week.
"We're still going to have to go out," Johnson said. "It's going to be soft enough to where you're going to have to attack the course and play aggressive and keep swinging like I am.
"I like where I'm at. I like my position. heading into the weekend."
Thomas has gotten better results every year in his four Masters starts, placing 12th last year, and he feels like he has left shots on the course.
"It's definitely not as low as I feel like I could or should be, but we're in good position going into the weekend," he said. "I know the subtle nuances. I just simply haven't executed it and performed it well."
Johnson, the PGA Player of the Year after winning the Tour Championship, has been runner-up in three of the past six majors and will focus on the par-5 holes, hoping his long-driving game helps make the difference.
"I'm happy with the way I'm swinging it, how I'm controlling the golf ball and everything I'm doing," Johnson said. "Rolling the putter good. Just hopefully can see a few more go in over the weekend.
"Need to play the par-5s a little bit better over the weekend. That's the only thing that I need to really do any better."
Partial second-round scores on Friday at the 84th Masters at par-72 Augusta National Golf Club (a-denotes amateur; USA unless noted; Darkness halted play with 48 players on course, round to resume Saturday):
135 - Abraham Ancer (MEX) 68-67, Cameron Smith (AUS) 67-68, Justin Thomas 66-69, Dustin Johnson 65-70
136 - Patrick Cantlay 70-66, Im Sung-jae (KOR) 66-70
137 - Danny Willett (ENG) 71-66, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 71-66, Justin Rose (ENG) 67-70
138 - Sebastian Munoz (COL) 70-68, Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 65-73
139 - Phil Mickelson 69-70, Brooks Koepka 70-69
140 - Rickie Fowler 70-70, Billy Horschel 70-70
141 - a-John Augenstein 69-72, Bernhard Langer (GER) 68-73, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 75-66, Victor Perez (FRA) 70-71
142 - Shugo Imahira (JPN) 72-70, Adam Scott (AUS) 70-72, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA) 69-73, Cameron Champ 68-74
143 - Chez Reavie 71-72, Bubba Watson 74-69
144 - Nick Taylor (CAN) 72-72, Kang Sung (KOR) 75-69, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 71-73, Collin Morikawa 70-74, Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG) 74-70, Zach Johnson 73-71
145 - An Byeong-hun (KOR) 72-73, Max Homa 70-75, Andrew Putnam 73-72
146 - Justin Harding (RSA) 75-71, Brendon Todd 73-73
147 - Matthew Wolff 70-77, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 73-74
148 - J.T. Poston 73-75, a-James Sugrue (IRL) 77-71
150 - Francesco Molinari (ITA) 72-78, Fred Couples 77-73
158 - Jose Maria Olazabal (ESP) 78-80
Erik van Rooyen (RSA) 76-WD