Zalatoris and Harman climb Masters leaderboard as big names falter

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[April 10, 2021]    AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - Will Zalatoris and Brian Harman tamed their nerves and Augusta National in the first two rounds of the Masters to claim a share of second place heading into the weekend as better-known players were sent packing.

Will Zalatoris of the U.S. hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Zalatoris, who birdied his final three holes to sit tied with Harman at six-under par and one shot back of leader Justin Rose, showed confidence beyond his 24 years in his first Masters appearance.

"I wanted to be here my entire life," he told reporters.

"Some people shy away from that, but I'm excited to be here. I've wanted to be here forever.

"There's no reason to feel intimidated now. I made it to here. And obviously the job is not done by any means, but I think standing on the first tee and hearing your name called, that's something that every kid dreams of."

Fellow American Harman, who carded back-to-back rounds of 69, said he did not think he would be playing in the Masters just three weeks ago and called being in contention at the halfway point "icing on the cake."

"I had some nerves this morning for sure," said the 34-year-old Harman, who is competing in his third Masters and vying to win his first major title.

"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.

"I was nervous. But it was nice to settle down with a good birdie on two, and I struck it well all day today."

Unlike Zalatoris and Harman, many of the sport's brightest stars did not strike it well.

World number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson, four time major champion Brooks Koepka and world number 12 Rory McIlroy were among those who missed the cut.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Augusta, writing by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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