Pieters remaining grounded despite earning share of Masters lead


Tired and wary, Thomas Pieters is not getting ahead of himself despite moving into a share of the Masters lead in his first appearance at Augusta.

Masters rookie Pieters finds himself in a four-way tie for top spot after carding a four-under-par 68 in Friday's second round.

Following his 72 to open the major tournament in gusty winds, Pieters recovered from a bogey at the first to gain shots at the sixth and ninth before rising to the summit with back-to-back threes at the par-five 13th and 14th.

The 25-year-old Belgian is in fine company alongside Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and Charley Hoffman, but he is keeping his expectations in check.

"As any tournament, I just like to get within three shots on a Sunday afternoon, three or four shots. Then you really give yourself a chance," Pieters told reporters.

"So it's a bit bold to say that you want to come here and win and then you don't do it, and you know, you look like a fool.

"No, if I just get in contention on Sunday afternoon, that's all I want."

Pieters, who was five under after 10 holes of his opening round, only to fall away, added: "I'm a bit tired. It's been two long days. It's been pretty slow out there, I must say. 

"I've been hitting a lot of good golf shots the last two days, so it's nice to see my stats, as well.

"I've hit a lot of golf shots and I haven't had to make a lot of long putts, either. I've had some two-, three-, four-footers for birdie, made a couple really good par saves. And given myself a lot of good chances coming in, but didn't really make any."

"I've been hitting really good shots. Even the ones where I made double on Thursday, I felt like I hit good shots.

"Thursday on 15, I hit six good shots and I made a six, and that hurts really bad. But when you walk off and you tell yourself you hit six good shots, than what else can you do? That's just golf and that's Augusta.

"And my coach told me to please have a lot of patience this week, so I'm trying my hardest."