Day one of the year’s first major, and this Masters Tournament is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting ones yet.
At the top of the leaderboard, Bill Haas gets to sleep on the lead, but he can’t get too comfortable just yet. With Haas at four-under-par, there are 19 other players within three strokes of the pace. Just one shot back, three former Masters champions – Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba Watson, and defending champion Adam Scott – showed that they’re ready to make a serious run at another green jacket.
In the pack behind them, names like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and even Fred Couples had solid opening rounds despite Augusta’s famously fast conditions. The father-son duo of Craig and Kevin Stadler find themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum. The elder Stadler, the 1982 champion, struggled to an 82, but his son fired a remarkable round of 70 to put himself firmly in the hunt after 18 holes.
Perhaps even more intriguing than the names at the top of the leaderboard are the names at or near the bottom. Jason Dufner, who many people expected to contend this week, ran a chip through the 13th green, and when his following pitch fell back into the creek, he was forced to take a drop, recording quadruple-bogey for the hole. Dufner only made one birdie the whole day, so it wasn’t just that hole that hurt him, but it still wasn’t pretty.
You could almost assemble a roster of golfers far off the pace that could rival those near the top. Phil Mickelson (+4), Dustin Johnson (+5), Zach Johnson (+6), and Graham DeLaet (+8) are all eight or more shots off the lead. The good news? Augusta National is notorious for its ever-changing conditions, meaning the leaderboard is likely to look completely different as the greens tighten up and players’ tee times change with the weather.
With 54 holes still to play, anything is possible. Stay with us here for around the clock coverage of all the happenings at golf’s most prestigious championship.