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Golf: Palmer Retires from Masters Tournament - 2004-04-10


American golf great Arnold Palmer has said goodbye to the Masters Tournament after competing in the Augusta, Georgia event for the last 50 years.

Palmer, 74, did not make the cut after Friday's second round, but that did not matter to the crowd, which gave him a big round of applause and a standing ovation at each hole. With his grandson caddying for him, Arnie completed the two rounds with a 36-hole total of 24-over-par, 138.

Palmer has won the Masters -- one of golf's most prestigious and challenging events -- four times over his career, but had not made the cut since 1983.

Meanwhile, another American golf legend and six-time Masters champion, Jack Nicklaus also says this was his last time playing the event. Playing in his 44th Masters, the 64-year-old Nicklaus missed the cut by only two strokes.

He said he did not think he would be playing much golf anymore, but the player known as "the Golden Bear" to his fans has been known to change his mind.

Meanwhile, three-time Masters champion and world number one Tiger Woods came back from a disastrous first round to settle at even-par, 144 after 36 holes. The 28-year-old American is six shots off the lead, which is held by Britain's Justin Rose.

Rose, just 23-years-old, held on to his first round lead Friday, carding a 1-under-par, 71 for an overall score of 6-under-par, 138.

He is two strokes ahead of former champion Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain and Germany's Alex Cejka.

Another stroke back are South Korea's KJ Choi and Phil Mickelson of the United States.

A group of five golfers is at 2-under-par, 142, including Ernie Els of South Africa and Americans Davis Love and Chris Demarco, who shared the first round lead and had a spectacular hole-in-one on the sixth hole on Thursday.

Defending champion Mike Weir of Canada failed to make the cut by only one stroke. He bogeyed the difficult 18th hole that gave him a 36-hole score of 5-over-par, 149. Weir is the first defending champion to miss the cut since 2000.

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