From atop Masters, Mize has deja view

April 09, 1994|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Staff Writer

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Memories often play a role at the Masters. The more you have, the better the chances that you'll get to repeat them, or create new ones. The more positive they are, the better the chances that somebody will remind you of them.

Larry Mize revived a few more yesterday at Augusta National. One day after taking the opening-round lead in the 58th Masters, Mize got halfway to bringing back the memories of his sudden-death victory here in 1987. And Greg Norman, the player he beat, got a little closer to exorcising them.

With a 1-under-par 71 in the second round and a two-round total of 5-under 139, Mize took a one-shot lead over three players -- Norman and Tom Lehman, each of whom had 70 for the second straight day, and Dan Forsman, whose 6-under 66 was the best round of this year's tournament to date.

Five others are two shots behind at 3-under 141: two-time Masters champion Tom Watson (71), three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin (68), former U.S. Open champion and all-time leading money-winner Tom Kite (72), along with two rising foreign stars, Spain's Jose-Maria Olazabal and South Africa's Ernie Els, both of whom shot 67.

"There's always pressure [at the Masters]," said Mize, 35, who grew up in Augusta, worked the third-hole scoreboard here in 1973 and 1974 and certainly will be the local favorite this weekend. "But already having a green jacket lessens it a little bit."

It took Mize nearly six years after stunning Norman with the most dramatic chip-in at the Masters to prove that his victory wasn't a fluke. But it could take another of those treasured jackets to silence those who said that Mize never would win another major.

"I guess I've worked so hard to get away from having to prove myself that it's hard to say what it would mean," said Mize, who saw his lead chopped with a bogey on the final hole yesterday. "I struggled with that for a long time. I have nothing to prove."

Norman has some proving to do here himself. It took awhile for him to get over the loss on Mize's 140-foot shot, and he has had three finishes in the top six since. But he came to Augusta this week as the favorite, a role that he still might be in considering how he's played lately.

Being a shot behind probably will help Norman, who traditionally has played better at Augusta on the weekend than during the first two days. But after being expansive about his game and his chances earlier in the week, Norman seemed a bit tight-lipped yesterday.

"I'm in a very comfortable position," said Norman, who barely missed a 15-footer for birdie at 18.

There are a number of players with a history of success at the Masters still in contention. Aside from Mize and Watson, former champion Ray Floyd is five shots behind at even-par 144 after a round of 74.

Two other former champions, Fuzzy Zoeller (72) and Seve Ballesteros (76) are seven shots behind. Ben Crenshaw, who won here 10 years ago for his first and only major championship, is eight shots back after a second-round 73. Defending champion Bernhard Langer is nine shots behind after a second straight 74.

"Anyone within six to eight shots of the lead still has a chance," said Norman.

But positive memories might not be the only kind that could be helpful this weekend. There are several players still in the hunt who have been close to winning the Masters, only to be swallowed up by the pressure of the last two rounds.

For Forsman, it came last year, when he quadruple-bogeyed No. going from the brink to oblivion on probably the most treacherous par-3 in golf. Kite has finished tied for second twice, and in the top six in seven other years. Chip Beck, whose `D decision not to gamble down the stretch last year brought loads of criticism, worked his way back into contention yesterday with a second straight 71.

"Getting in contention helps," said Kite. "If you're smart at all, you should also learn from your mistakes and try not to make them again."

And then there are those, such as Irwin, who never have had much success at here, but are considered major championship players. Irwin had five straight Top 10 finishes during the mid-'70s, yet his game is more suited for the narrow Open fairways than the wider ones here.

If the conditions get tougher, as they usually do, Irwin likes his chances. He wants to see the winds get stronger, the greens get slicker, the pin placements get tighter. He wants to see Augusta turn into Winged Foot or Inverness or Medinah. Kite wouldn't mind Pebble Beach revisited.

"I want the greens to look like mirrors," he said.

Larry Mize wouldn't mind that either. Especially if he sees the 1987 Masters all over again.

THE MASTERS

The leader . . .

Larry Mize .. .. .. .. .. ..68-71--139

. . and selected followers

Dan Forsman .. .. .. .. .. .74-66--140

Greg Norman .. .. .. .. .. .70-70--140

Tom Lehman .. .. .. .. .. ..70-70--140

Olazabal .. .. .. .. ..74-67--141

Ernie Els .. .. .. .. .. ...74-67--141

Hale Irwin .. .. .. .. .. ..73-68--141

Tom Watson .. .. .. .. .. ..70-71--141

Tom Kite .. .. .. .. .. .. .69-72--141

Jim McGovern .. .. .. ... ..72-70--142

Chip Beck .. .. .. . .. .. .71-71--142

Hajime Meshiai .. .. .. .. .71-71--142

Ian Baker-Finch .. .. .. ...71-71--142

Loren Roberts .. .. .. .. ..75-68--143

Corey Pavin .. .. .. .. .. .71-72--143

Curtis Strange .. .. .. .. .74-70--144

Ray Floyd .. .. .. .. .. ...70-74--144

Fuzzy Zoeller .. .. .. .. ..74-72--146

Seve Ballesteros .. .. .. ..70-76--146

Ben Crenshaw .. .. .. .. ...74-73--147

B. Langer .. .. ... .. .. ..74-74--148

Fred Funk .. .. .. .. .. ...79-70--149

Nick Faldo .. .. .. .. .. ..76-73--149

John Daly .. .. .. .. ... ..76-73--149

Ian Woosnam .. .. .. ... ...76-73--149

Complete scores: 4C

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