Past 2 Masters champions Garcia, Willett miss cut

Danny Willett, of England, reacts to a shot on the second hole during the second round at the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 6, 2018, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) The last two Masters champions won’t be playing on the weekend.

Defending champion Sergio Garcia and 2016 winner Danny Willett missed the 36-hole cut Friday at Augusta National.

Willett finished the second round with consecutive bogeys, missing out by two strokes. He ended up at 7-over 151.

”It’s a bummer,” said Willett, who has dropped to 296th in the world rankings since his Masters victory. ”You talk about luck. Hit a pretty good one on the 18th, gets a bad bounce, goes in the bunker, you get a terrible lie. It’s one of them things that I think if things aren’t going your way, they’re not quite going your way.”

Garcia’s reign was essentially over when he wrote a double-digit number on his scorecard in the opening round Thursday. The Spaniard and new father hit five consecutive balls into the water at the par-5 15th – four of them from less than 100 yards out and with a sand wedge in his hands.

Garcia ended up with an octuplet-bogey 13 that was the highest score posted by any player ever on the hole. Garcia finished with an 81 – the highest score ever shot by a defending champion in the opening round of the Masters.

Garcia seemed to spend much of Friday going through the motions. He struggled to a 78 that included dumping another ball in the water at No. 11 and ended up at 15-over 159.

Garcia will be around to be part of the championship celebration at Butler Cabin, where he will put a green jacket on the 2018 champ.

The only two players who finished below Garcia in the 83-man field were amateurs Matt Parziale and Harry Ellis. Parziale is the 30-year-old firefighter from Station 1 in Brockton, Massachusetts, who took a break from his regular job to tee it up in golf’s first major after winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur.

”I’ve always tried to learn from bad rounds,” Parziale said. ”But it was great playing, competing with these guys. I wish I could have been hanging around. But it was a great week all in all.”

Parziale and Ellis were two of six amateurs in the field. The only one to make the cut was 21-year-odl Doug Ghim, who got in thanks to a runner-up finish in the U.S. Amateur. Ghim was at 4-over 148 after two rounds.

U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman missed the cut by four strokes.

Wesley Bryan (152) and Shubhankar Sharma (151) also are headed home earlier than they hoped.

Bryan is a 28-year-old Augusta resident and former trick-shot artist who made his Masters debut a year after his first tour victory at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina.

Sharma is a 21-year-old from India who also made his Masters debut after receiving a special invitation to the tournament. He got an invite after winning twice on the European Tour in the last four months.

Among those who made the cut on the number (149) were three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter, who earned his trip to Augusta by winning the Houston Open last week.

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