Somehow, someway, Bill Haas bogeyed to start the day and then added another stroke on the 17th hole, yet went to the clubhouse with a one-stroke lead after the first round of The Masters. The 31-year-old American is seeking his first major victory after finishing tied for 20th — a personal-best — at Augusta in 2013 and his Thursday score of 68 (four under par) is a good first step in that direction in 2014.
Haas would have been in a three-way tie for first place had Adam Scott not double-bogeyed the 12th hole and Louis Oosthuizen not recorded a third bogey on No. 17. Both golfers played very well during the first round, but the late mistakes kept them from at least sharing that top spot on the leaderboard. Of course, both players are in good shape not only to make the cut, but contend for the green jacket if they stay consistent on Friday and Saturday.
Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler both entered The Masters with very different odds to win; the former came in at 10/1 while the latter was listed at 50/1. However, both players sit at one under par for the first round after different days on the course.
McIlroy had to be reminded that Augusta changes each year and that gave him an up-and-down day overall, although he seemed to have set himself up for a great run heading into the weekend. Meanwhile, Fowler got off to a very hot start with two birdies on the first four holes before recording back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6. Then he went par crazy for nine straight holes before adding one more birdie to go to the clubhouse with a green overall score.
As the players with later tee times finish us, Haas and company will be undoubtedly watching the leaderboard to see how stiff their competition will be heading into the second round on Friday.