Tracker: Watson takes 36-hole Masters lead

Bubba Watson during Friday's second round of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National.

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8:08:31 AM ET. 10/20/2014




PosNameTodayThruScore
1Ben Martin-3F-20
2Kevin Streelman-6F-18
3Russell Knox-1F-16
T4Webb Simpson-3F-15
T4Brooks Koepka-3F-15
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Second-place to start Friday at Augusta National had read like a veritable who's who of recent Masters: defending champion Adam Scott, 2012 winner Bubba Watson and 2012 runner-up Louis Oosthuizen.

It was Watson who charged to the lead, rolling off five straight back-nine birdies en route to a 68.

Recap the highlights of the second round of 2014 Masters right here – and scroll down to catch up on this week's coverage!

• • •

Update #69: 7:23 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy will play this weekend, making par at the last to head in 4 over – on the cut line.

Jordan Spieth's birdie-birdie-par finish gives him a 71 to head in T-6 at 2 under.

• • •

Update #68: 7:12 p.m. EDT

A sand save gives Adam Scott a 72 and sends him to the clubhouse T-3 at 3 under, four back of leader Bubba Watson. Playing in the same group, Jason Dufner wraps up a 73 that, on the heels of Thursday's 80, sends him home at 9 over.

• • •

Update #67: 7:07 p.m. EDT

Defending champion Adam Scott misses left with his drive at the 18th, hitting into the trees. He and caddie Steve Williams discuss the options before he hits it into the front-left bunker by the green. He'll look to get up and down to keep an even-par round intact.

Jim Furyk's birdie-birdie-par-par finish gives him the fourth 68 of the day among the top 10 on the leaderboard; he's T-7 at 2 under.

• • •

Update #66: 6:59 p.m. EDT

Patrick Reed's chances of making the cut take a big step back with a bogey at the 16th that drops him to 6 over, two shots back of the projected cut line.

• • •

Update #65: 6:39 p.m. EDT

Jordan Spieth eagles the par-5 15th with perfect speed on his putt to rise to T-3 at 3 under. Spieth's first trip to the Masters looks like an eventful one; the winner of last year's John Deere Classic is 2 under today.

Patrick Reed is chasing the cut line, birdieing the 15th to climb to 5 over with three to play and likely needing to gain another stroke.

• • •

Update #64: 6:31 p.m. EDT

Adam Scott gets greenside in two at the par-5 15th, then putts twice for par to rise to T-3 at 3 under.

Jim Furyk takes Scott's spot at 2 under with a birdie at the par-3 16th to move to T-6; he's 4 under for his round.

• • •

Update #63: 6:20 p.m. EDT

Jimmy Walker finishes with a pair of pars to wrap up a 72 that has him heading in T-5 at 2 under. That leaves defending champion Adam Scott as the low man on the course, also 2 under.

Jamie Donaldson looks to get back to that number with a fabulous tee shot at the par-3 16th that curls down within about a foot of the back-left hole location. He taps in for birdie and joins the T-5 crowd indeed.

• • •

Update #62: 6:09 p.m. EDT

The par-5 13th isn't kind to Rory McIlroy, who goes for the green in two and flies it just a bit over the green, hits a sprinkler head and sees his ball bound up into the azaleas. He pitches out to the rough and can't get up and down for par, dropping to the projected cut line of 4 over. Jordan Spieth also overshoots the green in two and can't get up and down, settling for par to remain T-8 at 1 under.

• • •

Update #61: 6:02 p.m. EDT

Terrific approach at the 18th by Fred Couples after having split the fairway, getting inside 10 feet for one last look at birdie Friday, trying to erase his bogey a hole earlier. He misses left and taps in for par, a 71 getting him to T-5 at 2 under as he heads in.

Back at the 17th, Jimmy Walker two-putts for par to steady himself at 2 under.

• • •

Update #61: 5:52 p.m. EDT

Back-to-back birdies at Nos. 12-13 lift Adam Scott to T-5 at 2 under, getting his day to 1 over.

Fred Couples drops to T-5 at 2 under after missing the No. 17 fairway wide left – he gets a big roll but must settle for punching into the greenside bunker to attempt a sand save, which doesn't work. He's tied again with Jimmy Walker.

First-round leader Bill Haas, meanwhile, is trying to recover from a five-hole stretch that saw him bogey four times and double bogey from Nos. 9-13. Haas birdies No. 14 and nearly pitches in at No. 15 for eagle, the birdies getting him back to even par for the week.

• • •

Update #60: 5:42 p.m. EDT

Jimmy Walker exhibits some fabulous touch at the 16th green after missing just long, chipping with the toe of his putter so the ball nearly dies on the crest of the upslope, then trickles to the cup and a few feet past. Unfortunately Augusta National does not always reward such efforts, as his par comebacker grazes the edge and he drops to 2 under, good for solo sixth.

• • •

Update #59: 5:29 p.m. EDT

Fred Couples and Jimmy Walker par Nos. 16 and 15 respectively to remain T-3 at 3 under alongside Thomas Bjorn and Jonas Blixt, four back of leader Bubba Watson and running out of space to put together a challenge.

• • •

Update #58: 5:14 p.m. EDT

Back-to-back birdies at Nos. 7-8 get Jordan Spieth under par for the day. He follows with two pars and stands T-7 at 2 under alongside Jamie Donaldson, who birdied Nos. 8-9 and followed with three pars.

• • •

Update #57: 4:56 p.m. EDT

John Senden pars the last three holes after birdieing six of 11 midway through his round, carding a 68 to head in 4 under and solo second, three back of leader Bubba Watson. Giving chase a shot back are Fred Couples and Jimmy Walker at 3 under, with Jonas Blixt and Thomas Bjorn done for the day on that mark.

• • •

Update #56: 4:39 p.m. EDT

A birdie at the 13th gets Jimmy Walker back under par for the day, T-3 at 3 under. He birdied No. 2, then went birdie-bogey-bogey at Nos. 8-10 earlier.

• • •

Update #55: 4:33 p.m. EDT

Jonas Blixt wraps up a 71 with a bogey-par-par finish to head to the clubhouse T-3 at 3 under alongside Thomas Bjorn.

Fred Couples then gets back to 3 under with a birdie at the par-5 13th.

• • •

Update #54: 4:26 p.m. EDT

The cut line remains set on 4 over, where five players are T-47 in the clubhouse: Darren Clarke, Jason Day, Joost Luiten, Sandy Lyle and Jose Maria Olazabal; still playing are Billy Horschel and Patrick Reed.

• • •

Update #53: 4:15 p.m. EDT

John Senden, having birdied No. 14 to rise to T-2, takes second outright with another birdie at No. 5 to rise to 4 under, three back of leader Bubba Watson. The Australian finished 35th here last year for his best Masters showing.

• • •

Update #52: 4:07 p.m. EDT

First-round leader Bill Haas is toiling along quietly and steadily since opening bogey-birdie, rolling off six straight pars before bogeying No. 9 to fall to T-2 at 3 under – along with four others in Jonas Blixt, Thomas Bjorn, Fred Couples and John Senden.

• • •

Update #51: 3:56 p.m. EDT

Defending champion Adam Scott has been moving the wrong direction, with bogeys at Nos. 1, 4 and 5. He steadies himself with pars at Nos. 6-7 but is back to even par during a 3-over day so far.

• • •

Update #50: 3:49 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy birdies quickly to get back to even par, good for T-15 through five holes. Lee Westwood also ends his day at that mark, parring the last for a 71.

• • •

Update #49: 3:38 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson is staring at a tall order: His birdie try from the back left of the 18th green to the hole location near the front right is likely a must if he is to make the cut. The green's dramatic contours force him to play it long and left, then let it break back toward the cup. Right idea, but not quite the right line: The ball comes to rest behind the hole and leaves about a 3-footer for par that Mickelson makes. That's a 1-over 73 Friday, his second straight day with a triple bogey, and he's 5 over for the week – T-56 and one shot out the projected cut of 4 over and T-47. He'll need the field to come back to him if he's to play tomorrow.

• • •

Update #48: 3:35 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy sticks his second tee shot at No. 4, electing to re-tee after missing badly on his first shot, about 3 feet from the pin. He sinks the double-bogey effort and slips to 1 over.

Jimmy Walker, he of three wins during this 2013-14 wraparound season, is T-2 at 4 under as he plays the ninth hole – where he misses the fairway wide right, then the green long with a low shot in that rolls past the ropes behind the green. His pitch goes long toward the front of the green, and his par putt to the pin comes up just a bit short. He's 1 under today, T-3 with Fred Couples and Thomas Bjorn at 3 under.

• • •

Update #47: 3:31 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson finds the 18th fairway and green, albeit with quite a distance to the pin after his approach shot is left and long – making birdie, and a spot Saturday, unlikely. Then again, Mickelson is known for pulling off the unlikely, no?

• • •

Update #46: 3:25 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy's already having a roller-coaster day: bogey at No. 2, birdie at No. 3 and driving up against a fence on No. 4, needing a rules official's assistance to determine the right spot for a drop and an unplayable-lie penalty. He elects to tee it up again and hits it into the bunker.

As for Phil Mickelson on the 17th as he tries to make the cut, the three-time champion gives himself a birdie look with an approach shot to 5 feet or perhaps closer. He sinks it for his third birdie in four holes against a bogey, likely needing another birdie at the 18th to make his 17th straight Masters cut – in which case he'll owe leader Bubba Watson a bit of gratitude for that bogey to close his round.

• • •

Update #45: 3:11 p.m. EDT

Can leader Bubba Watson's closing bogey help Phil Mickelson and others trying to make the cut? Perhaps some folks, but not likely Mickelson – whose quest for another green jacket might have hit a wall with a bogey at the 16th. That pushes him to T-67 and 6 over with the projected cut line at T-47 and 4 over, but he's still got a chance with two holes to play.

• • •

Update #44: 3:04 p.m. EDT

With the pin on the far side of the green, Bubba Watson pitches from the left rough – he takes a lot of loft, floats it high to the left and watches the ball curl past before breaking right and coming back toward the hole and stopping pin high about 3-4 feet to the right from his original line. He misses the putt, though finishing a 68 that lifts him to 7 under and a three-shot lead as he heads in.

• • •

Update #43: 2:59 p.m. EDT

Leader Bubba Watson finds the fairway at the 18th, then takes his time trying to figure out the wind, but just past impact he shouts, "mud ball!" before the shot sails left of the green, rolling to the ropes. We'll see if he can negotiate a tricky up and down as he did at the 15th.

Bill Haas pars the fifth to remain solo second at 4 under, with five players T-3 at 3 under.

• • •

Update #42: 2:53 p.m. EDT

Leader Bubba Watson isn't the only lefty playing really well today – 2003 champion Mike Weir is 4 under at the turn, with a birdie at No. 2 and three more at Nos. 6, 8 and 9 to climb to T-3 at 3 under.

Southpaw Phil Mickelson, however, is taking on one of his three nemeses this week as he plays No. 15, where he double-bogeyed Thursday, needing to gain ground to make the cut; indeed, he birdies to rise to T-59 and 5 over, two shots outside the projected cut with three to play.

• • •

Update #41: 2:47 p.m. EDT

Bubba Watson finds the fairway at the 17th, no problem, then takes dead aim at the flag – a bit too much spin, however, leaves him looking at 20-25 feet for his attempt at a sixth straight birdie. He two putts for his first par since the 11th, remaining 8 under and leading by four over Bill Haas, who's even through four holes today.

• • •

Update #40: 2:33 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson pars the par-5 13th, then snares a much-needed birdie at the 14th to climb a bit to T-70 and 6 over with four holes to play today. Bubba Watson's surreal streak, however, has pushed the projected cut to 3 over, meaning Mickelson has got plenty more he must do right down the stretch to play the weekend.

• • •

Update #39: 2:24 p.m. EDT

We called the last one 2 feet, which might have been generous, so at this par-3 (the 16th) we'll call it 3 feet that Bubba Watson gives himself for birdie. The ball catches the back slope and rolls down to the pin. No birdie putt is a gimme at Augusta National, though. Watson sinks this one dead-center for his fifth straight birdie to move to 8 under, four clear of the field.

• • •

Update #38: 2:13 p.m. EDT

With plenty of green to use, but facing a downhill slope with a pond on the other side, leader Bubba Watson pitches to inside 5 feet. He makes the putt for his fourth birdie in a row and moves to 7 under, three clear of K.J. Choi, Bill Haas and Kevin Stadler.

• • •

Update #37: 2:09 p.m. EDT

Speaking of the cut, it's projected that T-51 and 4 over will earn a Saturday tee time. Among the big names on the wrong side: Zach Johnson, 5 over; Ernie Els, 6 over; Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, 7 over; Jason Dufner, 8 over; and Keegan Bradley, 10 over.

• • •

Update #36: 2:04 p.m. EDT

Also moving quietly along is Phil Mickelson, who started the day 4 over and opened with seven pars before swapping a birdie and a bogey at Nos. 8-9. At the par-3 12th, though, he finds big trouble and ends up with his second triple bogey in as many days. That drops him to T-73 at 7 over and not looking good to make it to the weekend.

Bubba Watson hits a great drive at the great par-5 15th, then goes for the green in two but pulls it wide right.

• • •

Update #35: 1:59 p.m. EDT

Overshadowed a bit by leader Bubba Watson's hot streak is Fred Couples, who birdies Nos. 2-3 and follows with a par to stand T-5 at 3 under.

First-round leader Bill Haas birdies the second to get back to even par for the day, T-2 at 4 under alongside K.J. Choi and Kevin Stadler.

• • •

Update #34: 1:52 p.m. EDT

What?!? Bubba Watson shows off short-game prowess for another birdie. Having seen Sergio Garcia chip from a similar angle behind the 14th green to about a foot, Watson takes a parallel angle and holes out a long, left breaker to extend his lead to two over K.J. Choi and Kevin Stadler. That's Watson's third straight birdie as he charges out front.

• • •

Update #33: 1:46 p.m. EDT

K.J. Choi starts the day with two birdies to rise to T-2 at 4 under, one shot back of leader Bubba Watson. The South Korean finished third here in 2004.

• • •

Update #32: 1:39 p.m. EDT

Bill Haas opens with a bogey to drop two shots back of leader Bubba Watson, T-3 at 3 under. That puts Kevin Stadler in solo second through eight holes.

• • •

Update #31: 1:33 p.m. EDT

If the motto is to strike while the iron is hot, Bubba Watson apparently decided to do exactly that with some aggressive play at the 13th after a spectacular shot to earn birdie at the 12th. He lines up his eagle putt with a little help from caddie Ted Scott, but runs the downhiller about a foot past on the high side. He taps in for birdie to take the lead outright at 5 under, one shot clear of Bill Haas and Kevin Stadler.

• • •

Update #30: 1:29 p.m. EDT

Thomas Bjorn finishes with four birdies, including at the last, and a bogey in his last five holes to wrap up a 68 that lifts him to T-4 at 3 under.

Bubba Golf is in full effect, though. He drives over the corner on the 13th, only to hit his second shot onto the par-5's green in two and give himself a makeable eagle try at the left-side pin, maybe 12-15 feet or so.

• • •

Update #29: 1:17 p.m. EDT

What a tee shot at the famed par-3 12th for Bubba Watson, hitting it pin high and just about 2 feet left of the hole – and he sinks the putt to get back into a share of the lead at 4 under alongside Bill Haas and Adam Scott.

Jonas Blixt bogeys for the first time today at the seventh hole and drops to T-4 at 3 under.

• • •

Update #28: 1:09 p.m. EDT

Bubba Watson has two pars under his belt to start the back nine after a bogey just before the turn. Having briefly held a share of the lead today, he's one back.

• • •

Update #27: 1:03 p.m. EDT

Oops, Oosthuizen: At the par-5 15th, Louis Oosthuizen cards a triple bogey to fall out of a share of the lead, to T-11 at 1 under. That leaves Jonas Blixt, Bill Haas and Kevin Stadler tied atop the leaderboard, with Thomas Bjorn, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson T-4 a shot back.

• • •

Update #26: 12:57 p.m. EDT

A third straight birdie carries Thomas Bjorn to 4 under for his round, the best number going, and T-5 at 3 under with two holes to play. The Dane is looking to improve on his best Masters finish of 18th in 2002.

• • •

Update #25: 12:52 p.m. EDT

Pars all around for co-leaders Jonas Blixt, Louis Oosthuizen and Kevin Stadler, with Bill Haas less than half an hour from teeing off. Same for T-2 Bubba Watson, with Adam Scott about an hour from teeing off.

• • •

Update #24: 12:42 p.m. EDT

Thomas Bjorn is 3 under for his round, pulling within two shots of the co-leaders with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 14-15.

• • •

Update #23: 12:35 p.m. EDT

Bubba Watson's first bogey of the week comes at the ninth, dropping him to T-4 at 3 under, a shot back of co-leaders Jonas Blixt, Bill Haas and Louis Oosthuizen.

Kevin Stadler then joins the lead group with a birdie at No. 5, his second of the day against three pars.

• • •

Update #22: 12:28 p.m. EDT

Is a birdie at No. 7 too little, too late for Dustin Johnson? He follows with two pars and is 1 under at the turn today on the heels of a first-round 77. At T-59, e's got work to do if he's to make the cut.

• • •

Update #21: 12:21 p.m. EDT

Co-leader Bubba Watson pars again at No. 8 and remains tied for the lead at 4 under. The group atop the leaderboard grows to a foursome as Louis Oosthuizen eagles the par-5 13th to climb to 1 under for the day.

By the way, here are today's pin positions and a tidbit of analysis from Ian Poulter this morning:

And for good measure, a little historical perspective from Jack Nicklaus via his Twitter account, @jacknicklaus: "On this day in 1965, Jack Nicklaus shot a then tournament-record 17-under-par 271 to win his second of an unmatched six #Masters titles."

• • •

Update #20: 12:10 p.m. EDT

Jonas Blixt birdies again at No. 3, his second in a row, moving into a tie for the lead with Bill Haas and Bubba Watson.

Watson isn't afraid to play it safe at times today, our Nick Masuda reports from the course. It shows, as the man known for aggressive shotmaking is instead showing a penchant for consistency.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano moves to 2 under for his round with birdies at Nos. 8-9. He's had four birdies against two bogeys in moving to T-25 at 1 over.

• • •

Update #19: 11:57 a.m. EDT

Jonas Blixt birdies No. 2 to move to T-3 at 3 under, a shot back of co-leaders Bubba Watson and Bill Haas. Blixt was 4 under yesterday before two bogeys down the stretch knocked him down a peg or two.

• • •

Update #18: 11:49 a.m. EDT

A birdie at the par-4 seventh pushes Bubba Watson, the 2012 champion, into a share of the lead with Bill Haas. Watson has scattered four birdies amid 21 pars so far.

• • •

Update #17: 11:42 a.m. EDT

Marc Leishman has yet to make a par today. He opened with three straight birdies to take the outright lead – since then, he's bogeyed twice to drop back among four players T-2 at 3 under, one back of leader Bill Haas.

Bubba Watson pars his sixth straight hole to remain 3 under and T-2. Kevin Stadler climbs into that group with a birdie at No. 2, while Adam Scott has yet to tee off.

• • •

Update #16: 11:31 a.m. EDT

A birdie at the 16th is Kevin Streelman's first in 12 holes and gets him back to 2 under for the day, T-5 at 2 under as well. Streelman is looking to make his first Masters cut in three tries.

• • •

Update #15: 11:23 a.m. EDT

All good things must come to an end, and such is Marc Leishman's birdie run to start his second round. He bogeys the fourth hole to drop back to 4 under and a share of the lead with Bill Haas.

Bubba Watson's par streak, on the other hand, keeps going through the fifth hole as he remains 3 under, T-2 with Adam Scott.

• • •

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

Matt Kuchar rebounds from an opening bogey with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 6-7 and follows with two pars to climb to 1 under for the day, T-21 ateven par.

Par 3 Contest winner Ryan Moore birdies Nos. 8-9 to get to T-63 at 4 over; he's got work to do if he's to play the weekend.

• • •

Update #13: 11:06 a.m. EDT

Bubba Watson pars again, that's four to start his day as he remains 3 under, now T-3 and two back of leader Marc Leishman.

Luke Donald is 2 under today, with birdies at the first and third, in his quest to make the cut after opening with a 79. He's T-71 at 5 over, needing to get into the top 44 and ties or within 10 shots of the lead.

• • •

Update #12: 10:58 a.m. EDT

Ring up another birdie for Marc Leishman, laying sole claim to the lead at 5 under after starting his round with three straight birdies. Leishman was in the thick of things this time last year as well.

Thomas Bjorn climbs back to 2 under for the day, birdieing back-to-back for the second time in his round at Nos. 7-8. His good and bad have come in pairs to this point, his card reading birdie-birdie-par-bogey-bogey-par-birdie-birdie as he gets back to T-11 at 1 under.

• • •

Update #11: 10:48 a.m. EDT

A birdie at No. 2, his second in a row to start the day, moves Marc Leishman into a share of the lead with Bill Haas. The Aussie is 5 under for his last 13 holes.

Bubba Watson pars No. 3 and remains T-2 at 3 under alongside defending champion Adam Scott.

• • •

Update #10: 10:44 a.m. EDT

Louis Oosthuizen's second bogey of the day comes at No. 7 and drops him to T-11 at 1 under. The South African birdied Nos. 8-9 Thursday, and might need another boost there.

• • •

Update #9: 10:37 a.m. EDT

Another hole and another par for Bubba Watson, T-2 at 3 under through 20 holes. He'll head to No. 3, Flowering Peach, where he carded his first birdie Thursday.

• • •

Update #8: 10:31 a.m. EDT

Branden Grace is 2 under through 10 holes today – he deserves it, having paid his dues yesterday with an 84. Lucas Glover also is 2 under, through eight holes, to rise to T-25 at 1 over.

Louis Oosthuizen pars again and remains 1 over through six holes today, T-5 at 2 under.

• • •

Update #7: 10:25 a.m. EDT

Marc Leishman starts the day with a birdie to climb to T-2 at 3 under alongside fellow Australian Adam Scott, the defending champion, and Bubba Watson. Leishman finished fourth at Augusta last year.

• • •

Update #6: 10:19 a.m. EDT

Bubba Watson starts his day with a par, remaining 3 under and a shot back of leader Bill Haas. Louis Oosthuizen pars the fifth to remain 1 over for the day, T-4 at 2 under.

• • •

Update #5: 10:11 a.m. EDT

Bogeys are striking. Thomas Bjorn picks up two at Nos. 4-5 to drop back to even par, while Kevin Streelman is 1 under after bogeying No. 9.

And Louis Oosthuizen bogeys No. 4 to drop to T-4 and 2 under, two back of leader Bill Haas.

• • •

Update #4: 9:36 a.m. EDT

Thomas Bjorn birdies twice out of the gate and follows with a par to get to 1 under and T-13. Bjorn had no birdies on the front nine yesterday. With Kevin Streelman still 2 under for his round, three other players are in the red – Darren Clarke, Gonzalo Fernandez Castano and Jose Maria Olazabal. It's a good day, in the early going at least, for the European contingent.

• • •

Update #3: 8:55 a.m. EDT

The Tracker would be remiss if we didn't break down the weather today, and it can be described in one word:

Beautiful.

Highs will again reach near 80, with sunny skies expected.

The sun is definitely drying out the course, which could make for some very fast greens.

• • •

Update #2: 8:40 a.m. EDT

With this type of play, Kevin Streelman might dominate our early updates here at the Tracker.

"Streels" just posted a birdie on the par-3 4th hole – a hole he bogeyed on Thursday en route to an even-par 72 – and is now 2 under and T-5.

Streelman's year began with some sleepless nights as his wife dealt with a rare complication in her pregnancy, followed by his newborn daughter's week in intensive care. Read about that here.

• • •

Update #1: 8:20 a.m. EDT

A bit of a quieter start to the morning today, as the Big Three aren't involved.

An early mover on the golf course – and we emphasize early – in Kevin Streelman, who birdies the par-5 second hole to move to 1 under for the tournament to move to T-12.

• • •

Thursday's coverage

• Young guns survive Augusta National's wild ride

Rory McIlroy was the elder statesman in his first-round group with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. And while that provided an advantage at different points, the entire group gave us a glimpse of golf's future -- and it looks pretty good.

B. Haas charts own path to first-round Masters lead

Jay Haas, a 16-time winner on the Champions Tour, only gets to see his son Bill play a handful of times each year. Thursday, father watched son take the early first-round Masters lead.

A. Scott nearly flawless in posting 3-under 69

Adam Scott refused to get upset about any part of his 3-under 69, but he knows he left a couple of birdies out there after three-putting at two back-nine par 5s.

Achie's Awards: From a 'moron' to brutal honesty Thursday

Our James Achenbach reflects on the day that was on Thursday at Augusta National, handing out awards to the likes of Mike Davis, Fred Couples, Craig Stadler and Jonas Blixt.

Wobbly wedge play leads Mickelson to 76

Phil Mickelson shot 76, one off his high in 21 previous Masters. He made a short-game triple bogey on a hole (No. 7) where he had never made worse than bogey. He made a double bogey at 15, where his third shot spun back into the pond.

Donald's 'dumb mistake' part of stars' woeful play

Luke Donald's "pretty dumb mistake" on the par-4 ninth hole sent him from bad to worse, but he wasn't the only star to struggle on Thursday at the Masters.

5 Things: Haas' new caddie; Reed's rough day; more

As Bill Haas found the top of the Masters leaderboard, he had a new source of help. He also avoided the trouble that struck several notables Thursday at Augusta National. Here are 5 Things to know from the first round of the Masters.

• • •

Wednesday coverage

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.

• • •

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.

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.

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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