Masters Golf

Defending champion Danny Willett was among the notables to miss the cut at the 81st Masters Tournament.

AUGUSTA — Danny Willett will be around for the weekend at Augusta National Golf Club, but only as a spectator.

Willett, the defending Masters champion, needed some luck from the rest of the field after finishing early Friday with a 36-hole total of 7-over 151. That didn't happen, and Willett was atop the list of players to miss the cut at the 81st Masters Tournament.

"You're still a Masters champion," he said following his round. "There's still pressure that you put on yourself and that people I guess put on you to kind of play well. It's been a tricky 12 months, but we haven't played great golf, but, by the same token if you look at the career that we've had, we've not really had a slump in form in two years.

"We've had two fabulous years. And when you have a little bit of a downturn and it feels like the world is coming to an end."

Willett stumbled early, making a quadruple-bogey 8 on the first hole on his way to a 78. He's the first defending champion to miss the cut since Mike Weir in 2004, and he was far from the only past green jacket winner to miss the weekend.

Zach Johnson, the 2007 champion, also missed the cut at 7 over. Two-time champion Bubba Watson was a shot behind after he bogeyed his first four holes and made eight in all in a round of 78.

Henrik Stenson, No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking, posted rounds of 77 and 75 and is the highest-ranked player to miss the cut. Patrick Reed, who finished his college career at Augusta State, was 9 over.

Not all players left the course disappointed Friday. Toto Gana, the Chilean champion of the Latin America Amateur Championship, finished at 17-over 161 but said playing in the Masters was "perfect".

"I feel really, really good," the 19-year-old said, adding that the applause he received after his chip-in birdie on 6 was unlike anything he had ever felt in his life. "This experience is amazing, I never been in an experience like that, so I am really, really, really happy." 

Kyle Dawson covers sports for the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @ItsKyleDawson.