Now one stroke off the lead, Harman still trending upward

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Oh, and Harman now is only one stroke off the lead.

“I had some nerves this morning for sure,” the former Georgia golfer said. “Whenever you look up on the leaderboard and you see your name up there pretty high at Augusta, it’s hard not to get nervous.”

The left-hander made a 10-foot birdie putt on 18 to leave the group of Marc Leishman and Jordan Spieth behind in third at 5 under and join Will Zalatoris, who closed with three consecutive birdies, in second at 6 under. Rose remained at 7 under.

Harman, one of six Bulldogs in the field, eked into the Masters. He made it to the WGC Match Play quarterfinals in March. It raised his world ranking to 49th, just inside the top-50 criteria to make the Masters field.

That storyline already is old. Since he’s here, might as well make the most of it. Harman closed his second round with birdies on Nos. 13, 17 and 18 to jump up the leaderboard. That will put him in one of the final pairings headed into the weekend.

“You know, you just can’t think about it that way,” Harman said when asked if he was playing with house money. “I’m going to go home and play with my kids and try to get a good night’s rest and show up tomorrow and do the same thing I’ve been doing over last couple months. I’ve been playing some really good golf, and a lot of that has to do with what I’ve been working on and been working hard on my short game and my putter is starting to come around again.

“Start of the year, I knew I was playing well and wasn’t having any good finishes. I’m glad I’m up there in some bigger tournaments because I feel like this is how my game has been trending.”

Harman is trending all right. In his other two Masters appearances, he missed the cut (2015) and tied for 44th (2018). He now has twice as many rounds in the 60s (2) as he had in his previous six rounds (1).

Despite hard and fast conditions – with varying winds over the course of two days – Harman said the course was fair.

“I think everyone knew from the start of the week the greens are going to be a handful, and they are; they are really hard,” he said. “If you miss it in the wrong spot on the pins, it’s hard to get up-and-down. You have to really think your way around. They had it set up — I thought they had it set up beautifully today. It was very fair. If you hit good shots, you get it close; and if you didn’t, you didn’t.”

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