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Masters Leaderboard: Fred Couples Lurking Near The Top

Fred Couples is charging up the leaderboard on Friday, and he’s found himself near the top with the end of his round looming. At the risk of jinxing him, Couples is putting together a perfect day thus far, with a clean card to go along with four birdies. His ride up the leaderboard has him just behind Rory McIlroy, who still sits in the lead at 1-under for the day and 8-under for the tournament through his second hole.

Couples started strong, knocking in a birdie on the par five second before adding another on the par three fourth. He made it three on the front with a birdie three on the par four seventh to get to 4-under before making the turn. On the back it’s been a steady string of pars, with a birdie at the difficult par three 12th sandwiched in between. At 5-under, Couples is safely inside the cut line, and challenging for the 36-hole lead.

At the top of the leaderboard, K.J. Choi made a move early but stumbled to start the back nine as McIlroy retained his solo first place. Alvaro Quiros is right there, as well, tied with Choi in second place at 7-under for the tournament. Y.E. Yang and Ricky Barnes are tied with Couples at 5-under in a share of fourth place.

We’ll be following all the action in our 2011 Masters StoryStream throughout the day, so check back early and often for the latest updates. For more on the tournament, check out SB Nation’s full 2011 Masters coverage, or head over to SB Nation Atlanta.