Masters Round 2 grades: Much to assess at midway point

Who got rid of the Thursday nerves and made a move? Who did their homework after a slow start? Who went backward? Friday's report cards are in.

Dustin Johnson

Grade: Incomplete
If Thursday was all about Johnson trying to make it onto the first tee, come Friday he had no distraction from the mental torture of asking himself what-might-have-been. We'll leave DJ to the soul-searching (just don't attempt it on the first floor).
World ranking: No. 1
Score: DNS

Rory McIlroy

Grade: C
You know when you meet a great girl? When you're convinced you'll make a perfect match? When you try so hard with her that it never quite works? That's kind of how it seems with Rory and Augusta. He got it to 1 under midway through the front nine but couldn't keep it going. Far from out of it, but he needs to just let it happen -- and that, like love, is easier said than done.
World ranking: No. 2
Score: 72-73 (+1)

Jason Day

Grade: C
Don't mention White Dogwood. That's the name of the 11th hole, where the Australian has contrived to take 12 shots when par expects no more than eight through two visits. The swing remains ferocious, the touch is occasionally delicious, but the rust remains as he found only 19 of 36 greens.
World ranking: No. 3
Score: 74-76 (+6)

Hideki Matsuyama

Grade: B
Not having a problem hitting the greens (he has landed 26 of 36), but the three three-putts in Round 1 cast a long shadow over his scorecard. If that is one reason he's not under par, the par-4 seventh is another. He made double-bogey 6 there Thursday and repeated it in Round 2. That's four shots right there. Nor is it the one gremlin in the system -- there's another at 16, where he has twice made bogey 4. Good comeback from a sluggish Thursday.
World ranking: No. 4
Score: 76-70 (+2)

Henrik Stenson

Grade: F
There's one surefire way to dampen enthusiasm about an eagle 3 on the second hole of your day, and that's making a double-bogey 6 at the first. Augusta National is a puzzle inside an enigma, and it's one Stenson seems to understand less with every attempt he makes to solve it. He has now undertaken 12 visits to the course, played 24 pre-cut rounds, broken par just five times and never once gone sub-70.
World ranking: No. 5
Score: 77-75 (+8)

Jordan Spieth

Grade: B+
Imagine this: You make that quadruple-bogey 9 at 15 in Round 1, add a bogey 6 at No. 2 in the second lap, and you're still only four back at halfway. You sense only Spieth could achieve that. His drive is furious, and the course is made for him. Fourteen rounds into his Augusta career, and the only time he ended a round outside the top 12 was Thursday.
World ranking: No. 6
Score: 75-69 (E)

Justin Thomas

Grade: D
Landed 15 of 18 greens on Thursday en route to a 73, but 11 on Friday helps explain the 76. Setting a peculiar trend with his scores, he went bad-good-bad-good last year (76-73-78-71) and started good-bad this week. His game looks close to being a good fit, so if he can keep the big numbers off the card we can cease doubting Thomas.
World ranking: No. 7
Score: 73-76 (+5)

Rickie Fowler

Grade: A
Oh, Rickie. We used those two words yesterday when he closed with a double-bogey 6, but they're worth repeating Friday for another reason entirely -- because of his quality. Back-to-back 3s at the second and third were nice, and adding par-5 birdies at the eighth and 13th were cool, but the bounce-back birdie at 16 after a bogey at 15? Magnificent. There's a hungry look in his eye, and 67 equals his career low at Augusta National.
World ranking: No. 8
Score: 73-67 (-4)

Adam Scott

Grade: B
If you end Round 1 with back-to-back three-putts what's the best response? How about four birdies (and not one dropped shot) on the front nine Friday? Yep, that'll do. Another pair of back-nine three-putts (at 11 and 14) undid some of the good work, but three birdies mended the damage. The real positive is this: Six of his last seven rounds at Augusta had been 74 or worse, and he hadn't broken par once. He's back on the bike.
World ranking: No. 9
Score: 75-69 (E)

Alex Noren

Grade: F
Are Swedes allergic to azaleas? Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson, Jesper Parnevik, Freddie Jacobson and now Noren -- none of them have seemed at home around Augusta National. Good quiz question, actually: Which Swede has the highest finish at the Masters? Fake answer: Danny Willett (his mum's Swedish). Real answer: Jonas Blixt (second in 2014). Noren won't be improving on that this year.
World ranking: No. 10
Score: 74-78 (+8)

Sergio Garcia

Grade: B+
A blistering start (three birdies in a row from the get-go) and a strong finish (par breakers at 15, 17 and very nearly 18), while in between was a bit of a fight. But he hung in there, and the dream of being in contention on Sunday (which would have been Seve's 60th birthday) remains a distinct possibility.
World ranking: No. 11
Score: 71-69 (-4)

Danny Willett

Grade: F
Last year he played the first hole in 17 strokes through four rounds. This year he needed 14 swings to play it twice. It's as if someone placed a banana skin off the end of the first tee and Willett went head-over-heels on it both times. No one likes to miss the cut when defending; doing it in a major is worse, doing it in a major with a small field puffed out by old boys long past their prime hurts.
World ranking: No. 17
Score: 73-78 (+7)

Thomas Pieters

Grade: A
Through 10 holes of the first round, Pieters was 5 under par and leading the tournament. Amen Corner ripped three shots back for the card, and suddenly the debutant was back in the real world. A double-bogey 6 at 18 completed the slump back to level par. His response on Friday looked suspect when he made bogey at the first, but thereafter he was magnificent. Big drives, soaring approaches, sure putting and confidence in abundance. A rookie with absolutely no fear.
World ranking: No. 35
Score: 72-68 (-4)

Charley Hoffman

Grade: C+
Landing the Round 1 spoils is the perfect start, right? Well, maybe. Lots of people remember Trevor Immelman and Jordan Spieth going wire-to-wire. Not so many recall Brett Wetterich, Dennis Paulson or John Huston going backward at a rate of knots. Hoffman endured a horror show either side of the turn (five bogeys in six holes), but birdies before and after atoned somewhat. Needed 10 shots more than Thursday, but he didn't blow up when others might have.
World ranking: No. 52
Score: 65-75 (-4)

William McGirt

Grade: B
Finding yourself second in the Masters can be scary. Back in 1998, for example, Paul Stankowski posted a Thursday 70 to find himself one back of Fred Couples. Next day? 80. In other words, anything sub-74 was always going to be a good effort for McGirt, and here's why it was better than that: First up he made bogey at No. 1 but didn't wilt, and second he hit only five of 18 greens. So he made it difficult for himself but stood firm.
World ranking: No. 53
Score: 69-73 (-2)