The Masters tournament started without Tiger Woods on April 10, yet the leaderboard had a few familiar names on it. However, a lesser known name topped the leaderboard through 18 holes, alongside a few former Masters winners -- the last two, as a matter of fact. While Adam Scott and Bubba Watson are off to a good start in their quest for a second green jacket, Bill Hass is slightly better than them thus far.
There were clear skies as the tournament got under way, yet only five players shot in the 60s. Hass topped them with a -4 68, as 2013 champion Scott, 2012 champion Watson and 2012 runner-up Louis Oosthuizen all shot -3. Woods may not be among these challengers, but it is still a formidable trio behind Hass.
Bill Hass may be new to the Masters leaderboard, yet the name Hass itself isn't. His father Jay played in 22 tournaments at Augusts, finishing as high as a tie for third in 1995. Now Bill has a chance to do what his father couldn't and take a green jacket, although it is too early to tell if he is more than a one or two day wonder.
Scott, Watson and Oosthuizen obviously have more experience in going all the way at Augusta, yet that doesn't automatically mean success. Three-time champion Phil Mickelson attested to that in his first round, as two triple bogeys gave him a 76 overall, leaving him eight shots behind Hass already.
Rory McIlroy managed a 71, as he held back from having one of his now customary collapses for one day. Nevertheless, the Masters are still young and the field is clearly wide open, while Augusta clearly has teeth. For years, the course has been tinkered with to be 'Tiger proofed' but even with Woods gone, the field still isn't in the clear -- yet will an experienced champion or a leaderboard newcomer endure in the long run?
Hass will get to back up his opening statement starting at 1:15 p.m. est, with Scott starting over a half-hour later, after Oosthuizen and Watson tee off in the morning. Once the Masters are at the halfway point, the contenders and pretenders in this tournament will start to separate a bit more