The Masters: Jordan Spieth ready to challenge for victory as Justin Thomas enjoys ‘easy’ day

Jordan Spieth admitted he can definitely start thinking about winning The Masters after moving firmly into contention with a four-under 68 in the second round at Augusta National.

The 2015 champion, who returned to winning ways at last week’s Texas Open after a miserable run of form, is on five under after 36 holes, just two behind the pace-setting Justin Rose.

Spieth, 27, made birdies at the second and 10th before his only bogey at the 12th, but finished strongly with birdies at the 13th, 15th and 17th.

He said: “I came in thinking [I can win this thing]. I’m in position now to think that for sure, but at the halfway point, I would have been pleased with being two back, especially after last week.

“For me, I think less is more and rest is key, but certainly, I’m happy that the golf course has the opportunity to play more and more difficult over the weekend. I think that personally I’m looking forward to that kind of challenge, and I think that could be an advantage to me if I’m in control of the ball.”

Looking ahead to the final two rounds, Spieth is ready to press the reset button each day and not reflect too much on what has gone on before.

“I think that’s always a little bit of an internal battle, like oh, man, I just striped this one down the fairway, let’s picture the same shot,” he said. “But then like the wind is a little different or feel is just a little different, so I think just trying to look at every day as a new day is probably the easiest way.

“You almost want to throw out the good and the bad rounds, remember how good things feel, but the super good ones you don’t want to necessarily try and chase. It’s a challenge.”

Thomas enjoys ‘easy’ day at Augusta National

Augusta National is not often described as “easy” but that was Justin Thomas’ verdict after he fired a five-under 67 in the second round.

That lifted the world No 2 to four under, just three behind Rose, although he was unhappy about spoiling his card with a three-putt bogey at the last, his only blemish of the day.

Thomas started with a birdie at the first and added another gain at the eighth before making a charge up the leaderboard with three successive birdies around Amen Corner at 11, 12 and 13, with another following at 15 for good measure.

“I played great today,” said the 27-year-old American. “I played solidly. I drove the ball a lot better, hit a lot more quality iron shots, had some great up and downs. It was easy.

“For as tough as this place has been playing, I felt like it was as easy as it could have been, other than the putt that I made on 11. I mean, a lot of my birdies have been pretty low stress or pretty easy.

“I definitely have left a lot of shots out there the last two days or two rounds, but I’m in a great position. I need to get over that three-putt pretty quickly because it’s over with. There’s nothing I can do about it.

“It would have been really, really nice to go a little bit less stress-free on 18 there, but it would be nice if I could create a little more of that this weekend.”

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Thomas already has a major victory to his name after winning the PGA Championship in 2017 and he added The Players Championship title to his haul last month.

He is now hopeful of claiming a first Green Jacket, adding: “I know that I have confidence in myself, and I know that I’ve gotten it done at high levels and high stages before, but I’m going to have to beat a lot of good players to do it.

“I just need to get in my own little zone and my own little game, and I feel like, if I do that well, I should have a pretty good chance.”

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