The Masters. Haas Heads the Field. April 11 2014
Bill Haas / Getty
Bill opened his account at Augusta with a -4 under par 68 round that took him to the top of the Masters leaderboard. He admitted it could easily have been worse, his putter saved him over the first five holes;
"I easily could have still been 1 over, the putter kind of saved me and settled me down. I know there's tons of golf left, and maybe understanding that, I know that I can't expect too much. You've just got to go out there and keep playing golf, try to hit that fairway on No. 1 tomorrow."
The defending champion Adam Scott is sitting comfortably, tied in second place at -3 under par after his first round of 69, and spoke about nerves;
“The first few holes of the Masters is the most nervous I ever get on a golf course. I certainly feel like I prepared very well for this event and I was comfortable with my game anyway.”
Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen are tied with Adam at -3 under par after they also carded opening efforts of 69. Bubba was the only player to go bogey-free, and it put him within one shot of the lead.
Brandt Snedeker takes a penalty, but thinks the course is in perfect shape, scoring a first round -2 under par 70;
"The ball was on a spot on a hill on the side of the bunker and in the rough, it was right on the edge. I couldn't believe it stayed where it did. I took a practice swing and the ball; just kind of nestled over. Then it rolled an inch or something like that and I had to replace it and take a shot penalty."
"The greens are as firm and fast as I've seen for a Thursday, the wind changed 15 times today. This golf course is right on the edge, it's in perfect shape, and they got it exactly how they want it. The pin positions today were brutal. There was not one getable pin out there where you felt like you can make a birdie and get it going. You had to hit some quality golf shots to make birdies."
"I have a lot of good memories here, I have a lot of good friends here. I love the golf course, and it comes through in my play, I have a lot of fun here. I like the challenge of this place and how much pressure it puts on you on every shot."
Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose both shot a +4 over par 76, while Rory McIlroy returned an opening scorecard of -1 under par 71 to be T12.
Rory was happy to be under par on the day;
“For the most part, I felt like I put my ball in the positions they needed to be in and it was just one of those days it was tough to get it close to the hole, the greens are firming up. The wind was all over the place. Anything under par today was a good score.”
“It's about putting your ball in the right place and it becomes more of a mental challenge than anything else, just playing to your spots. It almost becomes like chess, where you're just making these moves. That hasn't been my forte in the past, but I'll learn to love it this week.”
Looks like Phil and Justin will have to fight to make the cut.