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

One player has a share of the lead at 6 under, while the other just barely made it through.

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

His average score of 75.08 points was the highest since the second round of the 2007 Masters, won by Zach Johnson. High winds wreaked havoc on everyone on the field.

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

McIlroy didn’t make a birdie on Friday. I kept searching To do something on the swing until the evening.

“It’s a tough day, a really tough day. It’s hard to score and you’re just trying to make as many pars as you can,” McIlroy said later.

“The last six or seven holes, I just hit it hard and my golf swing felt terrible. Especially that 11th hole. It felt like it took me an hour to play that hole. It was stop-start. It was difficult to get into a rhythm with the conditions and we obviously played slow.”

On the 11th, historically the most difficult hole at Augusta, McIlroy found water protecting the left side of the green. He tried to hit a long iron high into the air, but it was blown away by the wind and thrown into the water, much to McIlroy’s disgust. He paid the ultimate price with a double-bogey six.

Scheffler, on the other hand, safely found Green, a metaphor for the difference in the current game between McIlroy and Scheffler.

“Mentally it’s tough because you have to give your all to the shot you’re trying to play,” McIlroy added.

Rory McIlroy.
Photo credit: David Cannon/Getty Images

Before last week’s Valero Texas Open, McIlroy visited prominent swing coach Butch Harmon in Las Vegas. He wanted Harmon’s opinion on his approach play, but it wasn’t up to McIlroy’s standards in 2024.

Despite finishing solo in third place in San Antonio, McIlroy is clearly still trying to figure out something with his swing.

On the contrary, Schaeffler spent time at the practice range Working on his fundamentals: his grip. “I’m going to take a few shots to get a feel for it,” the 2022 Masters champion said in his post-round press conference, and Scheffler did just that.

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

It remains to be seen whether this late-night practice session will pay off for both players. Schaeffler will begin the third round in the penultimate pairing with Nikolaj Hejgaard at 2:35 p.m. ET. McIlroy will tee off with Camilo Villegas at 10:55 a.m. ET.

Despite sitting at four over for the tournament and 10 strokes clear of Scheffler, the Northern Irishman feels he hasn’t fully taken advantage of his opportunities.

“I still think I have a half chance to go out there tomorrow and shoot low and get back to the red numbers and go into Sunday,” McIlroy said. “Let’s take a look.”

Jack Mirko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through.Be sure to check it out @_PlayingThrough Cover more golf. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko In the same way.