Tracker: Haas leads Masters after 1st round

Bill Haas during Thursday's first round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.

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Jack, Arnie and Gary got things started at 7:40 a.m. – well before defending champion Adam Scott opened his Masters defense with a birdie. Several players have held the lead today, with Scott and 2012 champ Bubba Watson in the thick of things, but Bill Haas is the leader at 4 under.

Recap the highlights of the first round of 2014 Masters – and keep scrolling down for previous Masters coverage!

• • •

Update #78: 7:29 p.m. EDT

Lee Westwood bogeys the last for a 73, falling to 1 over and T-27 heading into Friday. Russell Henley pars to also finish a 73, while Harris English bogeys for a 74 that has him 2 over and T-40.

• • •

Update #77: 7:18 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson finishes with three straight pars for a 76, the round done in by a triple-bogey 7 on the seventh hole and a double-bogey 7 on the 15th. He heads in T-67 at 4 over, in the bottom third of the 97-man field.

• • •

Update #76: 7:07 p.m. EDT

Georgia Bulldogs product Harris English birdies the 17th to improve to 1 over with one to play.

Victor Dubuisson goes the other direction as he can't rekindle the up-and-down magic that saved him twice late in the WGC Match Play, bogeying the 18th to fall to 2 over and T-41 as he heads in to sign for a 74.

• • •

Update #75: 6:58 p.m. EDT

Marc Leishman birdies the last to move to 2 under and T-5. The Australian isn't a big name, but he's strong at Augusta with a fourth-place finish last year. He's among seven players two shots back of leader Bill Haas.

• • •

Update #74: 6:47 p.m. EDT

Safe to say several of the top-ranked players are unhappy today, with six of the 10 best in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings finishing their day over par (and Tiger Woods at home recuperating). Let's run through the list:

  • 1. Adam Scott: T-2, 3 under after a 69
  • 2. Sergio Garcia: T-41, 2 over after a 74
  • 4. Jason Day: T-53, 3 over after a 75
  • 5. Matt Kuchar: T-28, 1 over after a 73
  • 6. Steve Stricker: T-20, even par after a 72
  • 7. Zach Johnson: T-82, 6 over after a 78
  • 8. Bubba Watson: T-2, 3 under after a 69
  • 9. Webb Simpson: T-41, 2 over after a 74
  • 10. Henrik Stenson: T-28, 1 over after a 73

• • •

Update #73: 6:40 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson, gives himself a birdie look at the par-3 16th by hitting his tee shot to about 12 feet or so, but barely misses high and settles for par to remain 4 over with two to play.

Same for Bubba Watson, chasing leader Bill Haas as he hits it into the fairway bunker on the 18th and then to the middle of the green. He lags close and should tap in for par momentarily.

• • •

Update #72: 6:29 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson rises to his highest figure of the day, 4 over, as he two-putts for double bogey after hitting his third shot in the water on the par-5 15th. With three holes to play, he's T-67 alongside seven others.

Francesco Molinari finishes with pars at the 17th and 18th for a 1-under 71.

• • •

Update #71: 6:21 p.m. EDT

Needing to make up for another short-game miscue, Phil Mickelson lays up at the par-5 15th to try to make birdie. It's a decision that proves troublesome, as he lands his approach short of the green and the ball rolls back into the water. His fifth shot is pin-high and just right, giving himself a makeable bogey putt.

• • •

Update #70: 6:15 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson takes another step backward with a bogey at the 14th, missing left and failing to get up and down. That drops him to 2 over and T-43.

Bubba Watson, the low man on the course at 3 under, pars the 17th to remain T-2 with Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen – still chasing leader Bill Haas from a shot back. Haas shot 68 earlier today as his father, Jay, watched.

• • •

Update #69: 6:06 p.m. EDT

Henrik Stenson birdies the 13th and 15th to get back to even par, and follows with a par at the 16th. The reigning FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai dual champ has a couple of holes left to try to get into the red.

Bubba Watson misses a chance at a share of the lead. He hits his tee shot close at the par-3 16th, but is just off the mark with his putt. He taps in to remain 3 under, T-2 a shot behind leader Bill Haas.

• • •

Update #68: 5:52 p.m. EDT

2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson birdies the par-5 15th to move to 3 under, T-2 alongside defending champion Adam Scott and 2012 runner-up Louis Oosthuizen, a shot back of leader Bill Haas (whose best Masters finish came last year, 20th).

Phil Mickelson faces a tricky chip from just behind the 13th green, downhill to the pin and toward Rae's Creek, and hits it inside 5 feet for a look at birdie. He drains that for his second birdie of the day, climbing to 1 over and T-30 with five to play.

• • •

Update #67: 5:41 p.m. EDT

From the 13th fairway, Phil Mickelson goes for the green in two and it rolls just off the back onto the fringe. He'll have a chance to get up and down for birdie – but must avoid a mishap such as the one he had on the seventh hole.

Francesco Molinari birdies back-to-back holes at the the 15th and 16th to climb to 1 under and T-11.

• • •

Update #66: 5:31 p.m. EDT

At the famed par-3 12th, Golden Bell, Phil Mickelson sticks it pin high and just left for a good look at his second birdie. He leaves his putt short and low, though, and he taps in for his 10th par of the day to remain 2 over.

Louis Oosthuizen birdies the last to finish the day 3 under, T-2 with Adam Scott a shot back of leader Bill Haas.

Marc Leishman's first birdie of the back nine comes at the 13th as he moves to 1 under.

• • •

Update #66: 5:24 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson finds the fairway at the 11th, then misses the green well right, but isn't short-sided and has some room to work with. He gets up and down for par to remain 2 over and T-44.

Louis Oosthuizen bogeys the 17th and drops to T-3 at 2 under, two back of leader Bill Haas.

• • •

Update #65: 5:11 p.m. EDT

Bubba Watson, one of just two players on the course and under par now that Stephen Gallacher has signed for a 71, nearly holes an eagle chip at the par-5 13th and moves to 2 under with a tap-in birdie.

Check that first statement, though: Sergio Garcia earns a sand save from one of the 13th's back bunkers for a birdie to rejoin Watson and Louis Oosthuizen in red numbers at 1 under.

More short-game heroice come at the par-5 15th, as Sang-Moon Bae is well long of the green in two – then pitches in for the first eagle of the day on that hole. So Bae also gets under par, moving to 1 under.

Then Lee Westwood sinks a birdie putt at the 10th to get under par as well. That's suddenly five players under par and still playing.

• • •

Update #64: 5:05 p.m. EDT

Lee Westwood has been quiet today, a bogey at the third and a birdie at the sixth canceling out as he makes the turn at even par. Also on the course at even: Sergio Garcia, Thongchai Jaidee and Marc Leishman.

• • •

Update #63: 4:57 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson finds the 10th fairway, then flies his approach long past the front pin and onto the back of the green. He'll face a tricky, downhill lag putt. Lag? Nope – it falls in the front edge after a big, downhill turn to the right and Mickelson has his first birdie of the day, climbing a bit to 2 over. To bend a phrase from Vin Scully: Amid a round of improbables, the impossible has happened.

Only three players still on the course this afternoon are under par: Louis Oosthuizen (3 under), Stephen Gallacher and Bubba Watson (both 1 under), with six more at even par.

• • •

Update #62: 4:51 p.m. EDT

Louis Oosthuizen pulls within a shot of leader Bill Haas thanks to a birdie at the par-5 15th.

Bubba Watson hits a solid approach at the par-3 12th, finding the back edge, but his birdie try comes up just short and he remains 1 under after a tap-in par.

• • •

Update #61: 4:43 p.m. EDT

What a strange front nine for Phil Mickelson: He lags to 2-3 feet with a birdie roll at the ninth and makes his eighth par putt of the day, but that triple bogey at the seventh has him 3 over and seven back of leader Bill Haas.

• • •

Update #60: 4:34 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson's drive at the ninth misses the fairway, then catches a bit of a bad break as it comes to rest in the seam between the rough and the pine straw. He finds the green with his second shot, but faces a long putt.

Louis Oosthuizen is the low man on the course, 2 under and two back of leader Bill Haas. The 2012 runner-up is 1 over for his last five holes, having bogeyed the par-3 12th and followed with back-to-back pars.

• • •

Update #59: 4:21 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson looks to atone for that series of miscues around the seventh green, and lays up at the par-5 eighth; his wedge shot in then checks and stops well short of the back-left pin. From 20 feet or maybe more, Mickelson nearly sinks the birdie effort but taps in for par to remain 3 over.

Bubba Watson has missed a couple of fairways today but has hit eight of his first nine greens, with a lone birdie at the third getting him to the turn in 1 under.

• • •

Update #58: 4:13 p.m. EDT

Sergio Garcia is anything but boring today, birdieing No. 2 before bogeying Nos. 3 and 5, then birdieing again at Nos. 6-7. He then cards his first consecutive pars of the day to makes the turn at 1 under.

• • •

Update #57: 4:06 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy reaches the green from the fairway bunker at the 18th, short of the pin, then runs a fairly long birdie try past the hole. His comebacker lips out and is strong again, as bogey drops him to a 1-under 71.

In the same group, Patrick Reed finishes with three straight bogeys for a 1-over 73, while Jordan Spieth pars his final four holes for a 71.

• • •

Update #56: 3:55 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson misses the green with his approach at the par-4 seventh, just off the back edge – then chips strong past the pin in the middle of the green and the ball runs off the front. That brings an end to his run of pars to start the week, as his second chip misses and also runs past. His bogey putt is again strong – that's three shots in a row, practically on the same line – and a 4-foot comebacker also won't fall. He taps in for a 7 that drops him from T-20 at even par to T-62 at 3 over.

Adam Scott, who led earlier, has a putt of about 7 feet for par and makes it for a 3-under 69, with five birdies and one double-bogey. That's good for solo second as he heads in.

• • •

Update #55: 3:51 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy pars the 17th and has just one more chance to gain some ground.

Adam Scott misses the 18th fairway left, but short of the bunker and with a decent lie; he then misses the green long and right, so he probably won't be catching leader Bill Haas today. An up and down, however, would get him to the clubhouse ahead of the six 70s that have been posted so far.

• • •

Update #54: 3:37 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson pars at the sixth, keeping his day-long streak intact by hitting the green and again two-putting. He's hit every fairway and only missed one green, just by a bit, at the fourth.

Defending champion Adam Scott has run off three straight pars since moving into second with a birdie at the 14th.

• • •

Update #53: 3:25 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy's second birdie in three holes comes after reaching the par-5 15th in two and gets him back to 2 under.

Phil Mickelson two-putts again, still even through five holes. He's showing a little frustration at times, but surely knows steady play can carry a player into contention at the Masters.

• • •

Update #52: 3:17 p.m. EDT

Bill Haas hits his approach close at the 18th, inside 10 feet for a good look at birdie. He sinks it and heads to the clubhouse to sign for the best score of the day, a 4-under 68, that gives him the outright lead. Miguel Angel Jimenez uses a sand save for par to finish up a 1-under 71.

Phil Mickelson finds the fifth fairway – he's yet to miss one – and then the left side of green, but quite a way from the front-right pin.

• • •

Update #51: 3:09 p.m. EDT

Co-leader Adam Scott gives himself an eagle look at the 15th, but misses the putt low and long. The comebacker grazes the cup and he settles for a three-outt par to remain tied for the lead at 3 under alongside Bill Haas, Louis Oosthuizen and Brandt Snedeker.

Rory McIlroy birdies No. 13 and follows with a par to pull back within two shots of the lead pace. McIlroy spoke earlier this week about his Sunday struggles in the 2011 Masters and said he's ready this year with his game in place, "no excuses."

• • •

Update #50: 3:03 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson's tee shot at the par-3 fourth finds the front edge of the green, and he finds the line with his birdie putt – but the ball stops just short of the cup and he settles for his fourth par of the day. That has the three-time Masters champion three back of the leaders and T-22.

• • •

Update #49: 2:59 p.m. EDT

Adam Scott jumps back into a four-way tie for the lead with a birdie at the 14th, while Bill Haas bogeys the 17th to join Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Brandt Snedeker (who birdied Nos. 15-16) at 3 under. Eight players are a shot back at 2 under, including Jimmy Walker who wrapped up one of four 70s today with a par after four straight birdies.

• • •

Update #48: 2:52 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson pars again, this time at the third hole – and again the reigning Open Championship victor shows steady fairway-green-two putt form.

The par-3 12th tripped up then-leader Adam Scott earlier – and now it snares Rory McIlroy, who bogeys to fall back to even par for the day.

• • •

Update #47: 2:45 p.m. EDT

Leader Bill Haas misses a chance to extend his lead when a birdie try of about 10 feet doesn't fall at the 16th; he remains 4 under. Louis Oosthuizen takes advantage, pulling within a shot as he birdies at Nos. 8-9.

• • •

Update #46: 2:38 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson earns another textbook par – fairway, green, two-putt – and remains even par through two holes, four back of leader Bill Haas.

Jimmy Walker was even par entering Amen Corner, then bogeyed Nos. 11 and 13 – but since has birdied four straight to rise to 2 under and T-2 with seven others.

• • •

Update #45: 2:33 p.m. EDT

Fred Couples finishes a 1-under 71 with a birdie-par-bogey-par sequence, good for T-10 with 15 others as he heads in and three back of leader Bill Haas. Haas, by the way, pars the 15th.

• • •

Update #44: 2:28 p.m. EDT

Gary Woodland finishes with three straight pars for the third 70 of the day, heading to the clubhouse T-3 and two off the lead of Bill Haas.

• • •

Update #43: 2:19 p.m. EDT

Stephen Gallacher's third birdie of a bogey-free front nine comes as he makes the turn, lifting him into second place a shot back of leader Bill Haas.

• • •

Update #42: 2:11 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson starts his day fairway-green-two putt for a par, even through one hole and four back of leader Adam Scott.

Well, make that four back of leader Bill Haas – as the Wake Forest product picks up his second straight birdie at the 14th to rise to 4 under. Scott, meanwhile, double bogeys the 12th after hitting his tee shot into the water and drops to 2 under, which has him T-2 with five others.

• • •

Update #41: 2:02 p.m. EDT

Bill Haas birdies the 13th to pull to 3 under, within a shot of leader and defending champion Adam Scott – who pars the 11th to remain steady.

• • •

Update #40: 1:55 p.m. EDT

Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed are avoiding Masters-rookie woes so far, each 1 under and T-8 with two birdies and a bogey through 10 holes.

• • •

Update #39: 1:47 p.m. EDT

A birdie at the 15th pulls Fred Couples back to 2 under and T-2 alongside five others two shots back of leader Adam Scott.

• • •

Update #38: 1:39 p.m. EDT

A birdie at the 10th pushes Adam Scott into the lead alone at 4 under – and his margin is two shots as Miguel Angel Jimenez double-bogeys the 11th and Brandt Snedeker bogeys the 11th; they're among six players T-2 at 2 under.

• • •

Update #37: 1:31 p.m. EDT

Maybe 1986 Masters champ Jack Nicklaus should have kept playing – 1987 champion Larry Mize is 1 under nearing the turn, as is '88 champ Sandy Lyle.

• • •

Update #36: 1:23 p.m. EDT

Miguel Angel Jimenez's first bogey of the day comes at No. 11 and knocks him into a share of the lead at 3 under alongside defending champion Adam Scott and Brandt Snedeker. A group of six players are T-4 a shot back.

• • •

Update #35: 1:18 p.m. EDT

A bogey at No. 11 drops Steve Stricker back to 2 under, T-9 with four others and two back of leader Miguel Angel Jimenez. Adam Scott and Brandt Snedeker remain T-2.

• • •

Update #34: 1:09 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy's first bogey comes at No. 8 and drops him to 1 under, T-9 with 10 others and three back of leader Miguel Angel Jimenez. Sandy Lyle bogeys No. 5-6 to drop to 1 under as well – his only par of the day coming at the first hole.

• • •

Update #33: 1:01 p.m. EDT

Adam Scott's second birdie in three holes comes at the eighth and lifts him to 3 under, T-2 with Brandt Snedeker and Steve Stricker. The defending champ is again just one back of the lead, held by Miguel Angel Jimenez after a par at the 19th.

• • •

Update #32: 12:51 p.m. EDT

Brandt Snedeker birdies Nos. 8-9 to jump to 3 under, T-2 alongside Steve Stricker.

Jonas Blixt bogeys the last to sign for a 70, good for T-4 as he heads to the clubhouse two back of leader Miguel Angel Jimenez. That's two bogeys in four holes to end Blixt's day. Peter Hanson remains the only Swedish player since 1990 to break 70 in the first round of the Masters, the PGA Tour notes, citing his 68 two years ago.

• • •

Update #32: 12:46 p.m. EDT

Steve Stricker notches three birdies in four holes to jump into the T-2 fray at 3 under, along with Jonas Blixt and Sandy Lyle.

Matteo Manassero birdies No. 9 to get back to 2 under, among seven players tied for fourth on that mark two shots back of leader Miguel Angel Jimenez – including Rory McIlroy and defending champion Adam Scott, who have completed six and seven holes respectively.

• • •

Update #31: 12:38 p.m. EDT

Miguel Angel Jimenez moves out front for the first time today with a birdie at the ninth, his fourth against no bogeys. That puts him a shot ahead of Jonas Blixt and Sandy Lyle.

Kevin Stadler pars his last five holes after birdies at Nos. 12-13 to finish the round 2 under. No first-timer's sorrows there.

• • •

Update #30: 12:33 p.m. EDT

1988 Masters champion Sandy Lyle runs off three straight birdies at Nos. 2-4 to jump into a share of the lead at 3 under with Jonas Blixt and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Mark Calcavecchia recently spoke to still feeling the sting of Lyle's dramatic win on the 18th hole 26 years ago.

• • •

Update #29: 12:27 p.m. EDT

The first group of the day is done, with Stewart Cink and Tim Clark signing for a 73 and a 79, respectively. Co-leader Jonas Blixt steadies himself with a par at the 16th to remain 3-under alongside Miguel Angel Jimenez.

• • •

Update #28: 12:19 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy gets his second birdie of the day at the fifth hole, as does Adam Scott at the sixth. They climb into a seven-way tie for third at 2 under, one back of co-leaders Jonas Blixt and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Also at 2 under: Fred Couples, Bill Haas, Sandy Lyle, Kevin Stadler and Steve Stricker.

• • •

Update #27: 12:16 p.m. EDT

It's not all azaleas and magnolias here – this course is known for packing a punch. Zach Johnson is struggling early, with four bogeys in his first six holes and no birdies so far; he's 4 over through seven. The 2007 Masters champion earlier this week recalled his troubles as a first-timer at Augusta; the theories he mentioned then seem to be tripping up Jordan Niebrugge as the Oklahoma State player is 9 over through 14 holes.

• • •

Update #26: 12:07 p.m. EDT

Jonas Blixt bogeys the 15th to fall into a tie for the lead with Miguel Angel Jimenez. It's Blixt's third bogey of the day in something of a back-and-forth round, which is nothing new at Augusta National of course.

• • •

Update #25: 11:59 a.m. EDT

Miguel Angel Jimenez, nicknamed "the most interesting golfer in the world" by fans of a certain TV-ad campaign, is no stranger to leaderboards in majors. He birdies back-to-back at Nos. 3-4 to move to solo second at 3 under, one back of leader Jonas Blixt and one ahead of Fred Couples, Bill Haas and Kevin Stadler.

• • •

Update #24: 11:50 a.m. EDT

A familiar face is creeping up the leaderboard, as Fred Couples picks up his second birdie of the day, the latest at the par-5 8th to move to 2 under, two back of Jonas Blixt.

Our Beth Ann Nichols caught up with Couples on Wednesday to talk about his return trips to Augusta and his thirst to not just show up, but to contend.

• • •

Update #23: 11:32 a.m. EDT

Jonas Blixt misses a 10-footer for eagle on No. 13, settling for birdie from 3 feet and he extends his lead to two at 4 under. Blixt, a Florida State product, is looking for his first top-10 finish of the season.

Just who is Jonas Blixt? Our Jim McCabe sat down with the Swede in January 2013, read that story here.

• • •

Update #22: 11:25 a.m. EDT

Kevin Stadler gets his fourth birdie of the day at No. 13 and joins Matteo Manassero in second place at 2 under, one back of leader Jonas Blixt. Having won last year's Greenbrier Classic, Blixt has parred three straight and has six holes left to play today.

• • •

Update #21: 11:14 a.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy starts his day with a par. McIlroy was the oddsmakers' co-favorite along with Scott to start the week despite his Sunday stumble at the Honda Classic last month, when he lost in a playoff after leading to start the round.

• • •

Update #20: 11:09 a.m. EDT

Rickie Fowler bogeys No. 5 to drop to T-3 at 1 under, leaving Matteo Manassero alone in second at 2 under, thanks to his birdies at Nos. 2-3, with Jonas Blixt leading by a shot.

• • •

Update #19: 11:03 a.m. EDT

Defending champion Adam Scott opens with a birdie to move to 1 under and T-4, two back of leader Jonas Blixt.

• • •

Update #18: 10:59 a.m. EDT

Webb Simpson double-bogeys No. 5 to drop back to 1 under, negating two of the three birdies he carded to start his round. He's T-4 with seven others, two back of leader Jonas Blixt.

• • •

Update #17: 10:50 a.m. EDT

Rickie Fowler impressed Phil Mickelson on Tuesday during a practice round. (Read that story here)

Fowler seems to be carrying a bit of that over early in his first round on Thursday, picking up birdies on Nos. 2 and 4 to move within a shot of the early lead held by Jonas Blixt and Webb Simpson.

• • •

Update #16: 10:40 a.m. EDT

Tiger Woods ‏might not be at Augusta National this year, but the current World No. 1 is taking in the tournament. He took to Twitter on Thursday morning to post: "It never gets old watching the honorary starters tee off. One of the oldest and best traditions in the game."

We'd have to agree with that sentiment, Tiger.

• • •

Update #15: 10:33 a.m. EDT

Jonas Blixt makes the turn on a roll, picking up birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 to jump back into a share of the lead at 3 under.

He joins Kevin Stadler and Stewart Cink as players to make the turn in the red.

• • •

Update #14: 10:17 a.m. EDT

Well, you can't start much better than Webb Simpson, as he adds a birdie on the par-4 3rd to move to 3 under, now a shot clear of Jonas Blixt, who picked up his fourth front-nine birdie on No. 8.

• • •

Update #13: 10:02 a.m. EDT

Webb Simpson opens birdie-birdie and takes a one-shot lead over seven others – a group that includes Tom Watson.

Watson opened with a bogey, but birdied No. 2 and then posted another birdie on No. 4 to get in the red early.

• • •

Update #12: 9:42 a.m. EDT

Let us correct ourselves, as Kevin Stadler has now picked up a second birdie to move back into the red.

And Webb Simpson becomes the first player to record a birdie at the tough par-4 1st, getting his day started on the right foot.

• • •

Update #11: 9:39 a.m. EDT

No one else on the course has managed more than one birdie, but with a 2 at the par-3 6th hole, Jonas Blixt now has three birdies and has taken the lead at 2 under. Blixt has birdied Nos. 3, 5 and 6, while picking up a bogey on No. 4.

• • •

Update #10: 9:33 a.m. EDT

Tim Clark might want to rewind his morning a bit.

The South African opened with back-to-back bogeys, then added a bogey at No. 5 and a double bogey at No. 6 and is 5 over through seven holes.

Clark has missed the cut in six of his 12 appearances at Augusta National.

• • •

Update #9: 9:19 a.m. EDT

Kevin Stadler has recorded his first birdie as a Masters participant, moving into the red at 1 under through five holes.

Stadler came into the week as one of the big storylines because he was making history – as part of the first father-son duo to compete in the same year at Augusta National. His father, Craig, won the 1982 Masters.

While their relationship has been chronicled as strained, they did seem to genuinely enjoy playing together throughout the practice rounds this week. Our Alex Miceli caught up with the duo earlier this week.

• • •

Update #8: 9:04 a.m. EDT

With 17 players having recorded a score on Thursday, there are only two players in the red, including Jonas Blixt, who picked up his first birdie of the tournament at the par-4 third hole.

Blixt registered on the radar of one of our experts as an underdog pick this week because of his short-game skills. Check out our predictions here.

• • •

Update #7: 8:54 a.m. EDT

The first amateur is on the course, with Oklahoma State standout Jordan Niebrugge having picked up par on the opening hole.

Our Beth Ann Nichols visited with Niebrugge earlier this week, and he revealed his plan for the week: Earn low amateur honors and finish in the top 12 and ties to get an invite back to Augusta National.

Read more about Niebrugge here.

• • •

Update #6: 8:33 a.m. EDT

Well, we spoke too soon. There are now two birdies on the course, with 1991 champion Ian Woosnam picking up a 4 on the par-5 2nd. Moments later, Stewart Cink picked up a birdie on the par-4 3rd hole.

• • •

Update #5: 8:30 a.m. EDT

We've been at it for 45 minutes, we have eight players on the course and something is missing.

A birdie.

Tim Clark makes it back-to-back bogeys to open his round, the latest at the par-5 2nd. Cink only manages a par at the par 5.

• • •

Update #4: 8:20 a.m. EDT

Take a look at today's hole locations. Lots of tucked pins out there!

photo

A look at the first-round hole locations for the 2014 Masters.

• • •

Update #3: 8:10 a.m. EDT

The first official scores of the 2014 Masters have been recorded, with the first group completing the par-4 opening hole. Tim Clark will also go down as the first player with a bogey, while playing competitor Stewart Cink opens with a par.

Clark's best finish in the Masters is second place in 2006, while Cink was T-3 in 2008.

John Huh joins Clark with an opening bogey.

• • •

Update #2: 7:43 a.m. EDT

photo

Honorary starters Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus greet each other on the first tee at the start of the first round of the 2014 Masters.

We're not going to lie, any time we watch Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer hit the ceremonial tee balls to kick off play at Augusta, we get goosebumps up and down our arms. An incredible scene on the par-4 1st hole this morning, with throngs of patrons lining the ropes on each side of the tee box to pay homage to three of the greatest champions in Masters history.

Looks as though Nicklaus got the best of them this year, sending a couple of yards further than Player, with both in the middle of the fairway.

Let the race begin!

• • •

Update #1: 7:25 a.m. EDT

We are 15 minutes away from Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player putting the first tee balls into the air at Augusta National. The place is buzzing with excitement, with patrons lining up well before 5 a.m. to be the first ones through the gates – most with smiles despite the early wake-up call.

Weather conditions are ideal, with highs near 80 degrees expected today.

• • •

Wednesday coverage

Is he cursed? R. Moore wins Par 3 Contest

Ryan Moore hopes to change history this week after winning the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday, as he is fully aware that no Par 3 winner has ever gone on to triumph in the Masters.

What's weirder: No Tiger, or pre-Masters mystery?

Phil Mickelson said it was “weird” without Tiger Woods on the Augusta National premises this week. One can only imagine what a long, strange trip it could have been if Woods had postponed back surgery and tried to play the Masters.

Masuda: Lessons learned from Par 3 Contest at Augusta

There are those who prepare the lesson plans, and those who execute on them. On Wednesday, a handful of children at the Par 3 Contest provided the perspective necessary to do both.

Toy Box Extra e-magazine: Masters-week edition

We take a deep look at the Masters in this week's Toy Box Extra, from new Masters-related gear, a Q&A with 2007 champ Zach Johnson, a look at the bags of six contenders to David Dusek's take on Phil Mickelson.

Fowler's practice round opens Mickelson's eyes

Rickie Fowler has shined during practice at Augusta National for the 2014 Masters -- but he insists his T-6 in Houston is more telling.

Couples comes to Augusta National with contending in mind

This marks Fred Couples’ 30th Masters appearance – and in his previous 29 starts at Augusta National, he has missed the cut only twice (2008 and ’09).

• • •

Tuesday coverage

Masters defense – and bugs – on Scott's plate at Augusta

Yes, Adam Scott is serving up bugs – fancy that – at the Champions' Dinner at Augusta National. But his important jobs this week are to chase the World No. 1 ranking and the title of back-to-back Masters winner.

Players on upward trend coming into Masters

Who is trending in the right direction heading into this week’s Masters? Who's moving in the wrong direction? Patrick Reed, who played collegiately at Augusta State, for one. Check out our comprehensive chart.

McIlroy on game: "It's all there . . . no excuses"

Rory McIlroy has pronounced himself fit to win his first green jacket: “Mind, body, equipment, it’s all there,” he said two days before the start of the 2014 Masters.

Mickelson: Augusta National 'frees him up'

Phil Mickelson is scuffling a bit coming into the Masters, but there is something about the landscape here at Augusta National that makes him feel that he can accomplish anything.

Fun-loving Stenson takes Augusta's greens seriously

Henrik Stenson was a bundle of laughs on Tuesday at Augusta National, but knows that it will take a serious putting display to secure Sweden's first male major championship.

Rose sees self in prime, creating need to win majors

Justin Rose believes the time to win majors is now. Players can qualify their 20s as a learning curve, Rose said. But after that, there’s no excuse.

Reunited after 46 years, veteran credits Casper for saving his life

Clebe McClary was ready to give up, lying in a hospital bed in Japan, having lost his left arm and left eye in Vietnam. And then a visit from PGA Tour great Billy Casper changed the course of McClary's life. On Tuesday, they reunited for the first time in 46 years.

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