The Masters: Sky Sports Augusta blog, best shots and video reaction from the first round
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 11/04/14 9:25am
We’ve got reaction from all the big names, our presenter blog direct from Augusta and also the shots of the day from the first round of the 2014 Masters.
It was a tough start to the Masters at Augusta on Thursday with only nineteen players from the 97-man field finishing under par, led by Bill Haas on four under par.
Haas is being chased down by defending champion Adam Scott, 2012 winner Bubba Watson and the man he beat in a play-off to win his green jacket, South African Louis Oosthuizen.
Butch Harmon and Colin Montgomerie reflect on a tough opening day for our Masters hopefuls, with only 19 players able to break par, despite an ideal day of weather conditions at a glorious Augusta. Monty was impressed with one man in particular - 2012 champion Watson and his flawless round of 69.
”I believe that Augusta National was the winner, in perfect conditions only four guys broke 70 which was amazing. A lot of guys are in contention but a lot of guys that we thought would do well have not done well. But the one score that springs to mind for me is Bubba Watson, no bogeys, a great effort, the only player out there not to make a bogey today.”
Shots of the day
Many players might have struggled to break par, but there were still plenty of great shots to fill our highlight reel from the first round. Victor Dubuisson almost capped his Masters debut with a hole in one, while Stephen Gallacher came close to marking his Augusta debut with an albatross at the 15th following a stunning second shot. Phil Mickelson had his struggles throughout the day, but still produced a moment of magic on the treacherous greens.
Defending champion Adam Scott has had a lot to deal with this week as he returned to Augusta with his new Green Jacket, with plenty of demands on his time taking away from valuable hours on the range. That didn’t seem to matter though as the Australian carded a three-under round of 69 to launch his title defence. He had an unwanted visit to Rae’s Creek on the 12th hole which cost him a double bogey, but he responded with a birdie to limit the damage – showing the patience which comes with being Masters champion.
Haas in front
Bill Haas is our leader though after the first round with his birdie on the 18th making him the only man to close on four-under on a day when low scoring proved too much to ask for even the biggest names in the field. Only three other players were able to reach four-under during their rounds before falling away, but Haas, with just one bogey in his round at the 17th, remained there to ensure he takes the honour of being first round leader at the Masters.
Rory happy with 71
Rory McIlroy was happy with a round of 71 in what he described as a difficult opening day at Augusta National. The Northern Irishman twice got to two under par, but three-putted the short 12th, as well as the closing hole, to finish the day three behind leader Bill Haas. But he was satisfied with his efforts, recognising that there were some big numbers out there. "I think I did a good job today in putting the ball in the right places - you can start going for some of these pins and rack up some big numbers."
English amateur Matt Fitzpatrick carded a four-over 76 in his first round at Augusta as he played alongside defending champion Adam Scott. The Sheffield-born youngster demonstrated enormous character to stay the course despite opening his round with a double bogey at his very first hole. He hit back with a birdie straight away at the second and, while he did card three bogeys on the back nine, four over is by no means a disgrace on his Masters debut – considering the likes of Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter signed for the exact same score.
Kirsty on the course
Kirsty Gallacher is at Augusta for Sky Sports News all week and she took a break from presenting to answer your questions in a Q&A session direct from The Masters. FInd out what Kirsty thinks of the Masters and where it ranks on her list of gofing events around the world. She also found time to watch her cousin Stephen Gallacher tee off in his Masters debut and he did just fine as he made a flying start on his front nine. Despite struggling on the back nine he still came home under par, something which only a select few managed on day one.