Masters: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy practice well into darkness after grueling 2nd round

One player holds a share of the lead at 6-under, while the other barely made the cut.

Despite their different positions on the leaderboard, Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy worked well into the night on their swings after a brutal day at Augusta National.

The scoring average was 75.08—the highest since the second round of the 2007 Masters, when Zach Johnson triumphed. High winds wreaked havoc for everyone in the field.

Scheffler managed to shoot an even-par 72 and sits atop the leaderboard with Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau, while McIlroy carded a 5-over 77.

McIlroy did not make a single birdie Friday as he continued to search for something in his swing well into the evening.

“Tough day, really tough day. Just hard to make a score and just sort of trying to make as many pars as possible,” McIlroy said afterward.

“My golf swing felt horrific for the last six or seven holes, just from hitting around. Especially that 11th hole. It felt like it took an hour to play that hole. Yeah, it was stop-start; it was hard to get into a rhythm with the conditions and, obviously, how slow the play was as well.”

Historically the most challenging hole at Augusta, McIlroy found the pond that guards the left side of the green at the 11th. He tried to hit a long iron high into the air, but the wind ate it, dumping it into the water and leaving McIlroy disgusted. He paid the ultimate price with a double-bogey six.

Scheffler, meanwhile, safely found the green—a metaphor for the differences between McIlroy’s and Scheffler’s current games.

“Mentally, it’s a grind because you just have to try to commit as best you can to the shot that you’re trying to play,” McIlroy added.

Rory McIlroy, The Masters

Rory McIlroy.
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Before last week’s Valero Texas Open, McIlroy paid a visit to renowned swing coach Butch Harmon in Las Vegas. He wanted to seek Harmon’s opinion on his approach play, something that has not been up to McIlroy’s standard in 2024.

He went on to finish solo third in San Antonio, but clearly, McIlroy is still searching for something in his swing.

On the flip side, Scheffler spent time on the range working on his fundamentals, namely his grip. The 2022 Masters champion indicated in his post-round press conference that he would “hit a few just to get a feel,” and Scheffler did just that.

But Scheffler’s decision to practice more after posting a good score speaks volumes about his drive and tenacity to improve. The same can be said for McIlroy, who continues to chase the Grand Slam at The Masters.

Whether this late-night practice session pays off for either of these players remains to be seen. Scheffler will begin his third round at 2:35 p.m. ET in the penultimate pairing with Nicolai Højgaard. McIlroy tees off at 10:55 a.m. ET with Camilo Villegas.

Despite sitting at 4-over for the tournament and 10 shots back of Scheffler, the Northern Irishman feels his chances are not completely shot.

“I still think I can go out tomorrow and shoot a low one, get back into red numbers, and have half a chance going into Sunday,” McIlroy said. “We’ll see.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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