After world champion Tiger Woods withdrew, the competition is on for the spot as number one golf player. They certainly have big shoes to fill.
Three Augusta rookies are very close to getting their hands on the big prize: Adam Scott needs a two-way tie for third, Henrik Stenson a two-way tie for second, and Jason Day could nail it with a win.
But Day 1 of the 2014 Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club has brought a lot of surprises and things are about to get even more exciting. Bill Haas leads the field by a stroke over Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson.
The first day left viewers breathless, with disappointing results for some of the top names in the competition and incredible rounds for others.
It was a pleasant surprise to see how some of the players took advantage of Thursday’s conditions and played very well at Augusta National. Bill Haas was one of them. The golf pro took the lead after the opening round, scoring an excellent 68. He bogeyed the opening hole, then pulled off 5-under at the next 17 holes, which placed him on first place all by himself.
Only a stroke behind Haas, you’ll find two Masters winners: the defending champion Adam Scott and Bubba Watson. Along with Louis Oosthuizen, the three players are tied at 3-under. Making three birdies and no bogeys, Bubba had a very good first round on Thursday. Things are looking up for him and some believe the player might just add a second green jacket to his trophy case by the end of Sunday.
Adam Scott is also one of the favorites. The Australian pro made one mistake on the 12th hole, sending the ball in the water and ending up with a double bogey, but apart from that he had a promising first round. According to the latest gambling news, Scott said he was feeling comfortable on the course.
Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Fred Couples and Rickie Fowler are also in a great spot at the end of the first day, all of them posting an opening round under par.
Winners and losers
It takes several days to find out who will win the Masters, but you can tell who the losers are after just one day.
It was a good day for the rookies too. 20 year-old Jordan Spieth, last year’s PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, shot a one-under par 71. That’s a great result for his first official run at the Augusta National. Americans Jimmy Walker and Kevin Stadler and Swedish player Jonas Blixt are just two shots behind the leader, with 70 in their rookie round.
On the other hand, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jason Dufner were among the worse players of the first day. It will take them great effort and very good results on Friday, just to be able to make it to the weekend and their game will have to be flawless if they’re actually aiming for the title.
After opening with a round of 10-over 82, Craig Stadler described his performance with the following statement: “I played like a moron.”
Betting could get tricky
With so many good players, the results are quite unpredictable, so the 2014 Masters definitely not an easy one for bookmakers or gamblers looking to earn some money from this competition. Online and mobile betting company Paddy Power said the tournament has six potential winners.
The bookmaker estimated that six players might be able to turn the odds in their favor this year and, of course, these names add to the ones that are already among the top favorites.
A lot of people are betting on Rory McIlroy to win the Masters and William Hill, UK’s largest wagering company, even offered a special deal for players opting for the guy. Hill might end up regretting this decision, however, because with the odds offered the company could stand to lose as much as $2 million if McIlroy actually wins.
So what can fans of the sport expect from this year’s Masters? You never know what the weekend will bring and results can rapidly change with this tournament. One thing is certain: you’re in for a lot of excitement!