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2014 Masters: Day 1, Old and New in the Hunt

2014 Masters: Day 1, Old and New in the Hunt

2014 Masters: Day 1, Old and New in the Hunt

An in-depth look into the first day of the 2014 Masters

The opening round of the 2014 Masters has come and gone, and as we review “Green Thursday” it’s always interesting to take a look at the top and the bottom to see what’s transpired. While a newcomer sits atop the leaderboard, he’s closely followed by big names and former champs.

Let’s gauge where these PGA players are as we head into the big weekend in Augusta.

The Good

As advertised, some well-known name players found themselves near the top of the leaderboard through 18 holes of play. The trio of golfers tied for 2nd should come as a surprise to no one as Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson fired 3-under par 69s to trail first round leader Bill Haas by a stroke.

2014 Masters

Louis Oosthuizen and Matt Kuchar on the first day of 2014 Masters. Oosthuizen is one of the early leaders.

Adam Scott, the defending Champion, started hot and was in the lead for a portion of the day as he was 4-under through 11 holes, until historic Hole 12, one of the two famous par-3s on the backside of Augusta, claimed another victim as Scott’s tee shot fell into a watery grave, resulting in a double bogey.

2014 Masters

Defending Masters champ Adam Scott was one of the leaders after day one at 2014 in Augusta.

Bubba Watson, the 2012 Champion, had an oddly steady round for the creative, daring and often aggressive player. The other lefty totaled 15 pars and three birdies in his round.

2014 Masters

Former Masters winner Bubba Watson was among three big names tied for third after Thursday’s first round.

We also see some 2014 Masters rookies near the top, with Kevin Stadler, Jonas Blixt, Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth and Stephen Gallacher finish under par.

With 25 percent of this year’s field made up of 2014 Masters’ rookies, and with the experience they represent, could anyone be surprised if a couple rookies find themselves in the mix the entire tournament?

And some oldie-but-goodies also put themselves in the mix, with Fred Couples firing an opening round 71, as did 50-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, who opened with a scorching 32 on the front nine only to play Amen Corner — holes 11, 12 and 13 — with a plus-3 to come home with a 3-over 39 on the backside.

Another over-50 former winner is lurking at even par 72, Bernard Langer. Langer has two green jackets hanging in his closet, so he knows how to get the ball around Augusta National.

The Bad

Some surprising names found their way towards the bottom of the pack, among them are Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose at plus-4, Dustin Johnson at plus-5, Angel Cabrera and Zach Johnson coming in at 6-over par and Luke Donald with a 7-over 79 on the day.

And easy-going, smooth swinging Jason Dufner, who many thought had the attitude, accuracy and short-game to make a run at the 2014 Masters title and year’s first Major, struggled to a first round 80. After shooting an even-par 36 on outward nine, Dufner stumbled in with a 44, including a nine on the par-5 13th.

All of the previously mentioned seven golfers will look to turn things around during Friday’s round to get inside the cut line, allowing them to climb the weekend in an attempt to get into the mix on Sunday. And all have the talent and pedigree to do it. So slow down.

2014 Masters

Lefty was not happy at Thursday’s 2014 Masters, but don’t count him out.

The Course

True to form, Augusta National Golf Club showed its teeth to some of the best golfers in the world.

Small misses were magnified. Bad decisions were compounded. And uncommitted shots were punished. On the other hand, those that played smart, struck the ball well and managed their games found birdies, and low scores were attainable. This is what makes Augusta National the gem of all Major championship courses; it identifies the best golfers that are on their game, and exposes those that aren’t.

You can’t hide from Augusta National.

As weather conditions are supposed to be ideal for the rest of the tournament, with sunny skies and relatively light winds throughout the weekend, it will be a delight for all golf fans as Augusta filters out all challengers and the victor emerges on Sunday afternoon. Despite the lack of a particularly prominent golfer named Tiger, this promises to be an entertaining 2014 Masters that will inevitably come down to the back nine on Sunday.

2014 Masters

Augusta National was gorgeous for the opening round of the 2014 Masters. And great weather is expected all weekend.

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