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Golf | US Masters

Spieth, Blixt lead charge of Masters newcomers



Sweden's Jonas Blixt and rising US star Jordan Spieth have put themselves in contention to win the Masters in their first Augusta National appearance, a feat unseen in 35 years.

"Ultimately, if you're playing extremely well and you get the right breaks, then it doesn't matter if it's your first time or your 50th, I think that you can win out here," Spieth said.

Spieth, who last year became the first teen since 1931 to win a US PGA event, fired a two-under 70 on Friday and Blixt, fourth in last year's PGA Championship in only his second major start, shot 71 to join the American on three-under 141.

That's level for third alongside defending champion Adam Scott but four adrift of leader Bubba Watson and one back of Australian John Senden entering the weekend at Augusta National.

"This is all you want. You want to be in contention come Saturday and Sunday. So I'm very happy with where I'm at," Blixt said. "You can't ask for anything else, to be up there and have a chance of winning."

In all, 11 of the record 24 first-time Masters players made the cut on four-over 148, Dutchman Joost Luiten on the number.

But Spieth and Blixt and American Jimmy Walker, a three-time US PGA winner this season who stands on 142, are the ones with the best chance of becoming the first newcomers to capture the green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Before that, it had not happened since Gene Sarazen back in the second Masters in 1935.

Spieth is ready to face the challenge of title contention at Augusta National, something he has only watched until now.

"This golf course is really going to test my patience this weekend," Spieth said. "If I can get a couple more rounds in the red, who knows what can happen.

"A lot of work to do. It's a halfway point. But very pleased with the start."

The 20-year-old will be paired with Scott for the third round.

"There's no doubt that experience pays off, but I'm playing with the defending champ tomorrow and I'll get to see where he's playing a lot of his shots and how the ball's reacting from those," Spieth said. "Hopefully, I can draw on that a little bit."

Blixt says he enjoys the rock-hard, lightning-fast and undulating greens that formidable Augusta National will offer this weekend.

"It's baking up. It's going to be a fun test this weekend," Blixt said. "I just love fast greens. It's so much fun to play. And I see the lines better. There's a lot more touch around the greens."

Spieth will be more patient.

"You don't really have to attack pins or think too much," he said. "I think I just have to trust my instincts and that's the advice that I've gotten that I've taken this far."

Spieth will be battling his emotions, having already achieved his goal for the year of contending in a major.

"This was a big goal of mine and the Masters being the one that I dreamed about since I was who knows how old, that's going to leave more emotion out there," Spieth said.

"The Masters brings out emotion in guys that aren't emotional. I'm already emotional and I got to keep it on the down low. You've got to stay really patient and understand what this golf course gives you.

Walker is another shot back but with only six foes in front of him, he likes his chances.

"I would have liked to have shot a little better but we're right there where we need to be," Walker said.

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