Haas leads Masters by 1 over Scott, Bubba


Bill Haas shot a 4-under 68 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Masters. Here’s the skinny on Round 1 at Augusta National:

The leaderboard: Bill Haas (-4); Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson at -3; Brandt Snedeker among 7 players tied at -2

What it means: It’s the lowest round of Haas’ Masters career; he failed to break 70 in his 16 previous rounds at Augusta. At 31, Haas is in the sweet spot of his major career, and he’s trying to accomplish what his father, Jay, could not. The past six Masters winners have opened with a sub-70 score. The last eight champions all have been T-10 or better after Day 1.

Round of the day: Adam Scott shook off his recent Bay Hill collapse and now is in position to become only the fourth player in history to win the Masters in back-to-back years. Scott stood at 4 under on the 12th tee, but his tee shot came up woefully short and he walked off the green with a double bogey. He rebounded with a birdie on 14 and made an 8-foot par putt on the final hole for a 69 – the same score he opened with a year ago.  

Best of the rest: Bubba Watson played the only bogey-free round of the day en route to an opening 69. Though he withdrew from Bay Hill after a first-round 83, the big hitter has finished T2-1-T2 in the last three stroke-play events that he has completed. When he won two years ago, Watson shot rounds of 69-71-70-68.

Biggest disappointment: It was a rough day for the last three major winners. Justin Rose was 4 over through his first seven holes and shot 76; Phil Mickelson made a pair of 7s during his opening 76; and Jason Dufner made a 9 on the par-5 13th on his way to an 80. That’s a combined 16 over par. This matched Mickelson's worst-ever Masters start and put him in jeopardy of missing the 36-hole cut, which he has done only once in 21 tries, back in 1997. Last year’s T-57 (71-76-77-73) was his second-worst finish. 

Quote of the day: “I played like a moron,” – Craig Stadler, after opening with 82 at the Masters in what likely will be his farewell appearance.