Masters Leaderboard 2012: Which Early Leaders Can Remain in Contention?

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterApril 5, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 05:  Henrik Stenson of Sweden looks on from the second hole during the first round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Someone is not reading the script as an unlikely golfer has rocketed to the top of the leaderboard on day one at the Masters. 

Henrik Stenson dropped two eagles on the day and is cruising on a course that is far more demanding than the 36-year-old from Sweden would let on. 

It's early at the Masters, and many golfers still need to tee off at the famed course, but we have early stars on the rise and thoughts on whether new found glory will carry over into day two and beyond. 

Here is the leaderboard as of this writing: 

Pos. Player Score Thru
No. 1 Henrik Stenson  -5 17
2 Lee Westwood
 -4  8
T3 Jason Dufner
 -3  9
T3 Paul Lawrie  -3  F
T6 Tiger Woods   -2  16

Here are some thoughts on the most interesting early leaders. 

1. Henrik Stenson: 

It's remarkable what Stenson has been able to do considering the state of this beautiful course. Rain has left some parts of the course sloppy, leaving golfers like Woods with some questionable shots. 

Instead, Stenson has been exact, especially with some short shots that had us wondering if they made up the stories of rain. 

I love the confidence he is playing with, but I don't see him going wire-to-wire. After a great front nine, he bogied two of his remaining holes on the day. 

This is too difficult a tourney to expect him to continue to flourish the way he started, with two front-nine eagles. 

2. Jason Dufner: 

It's nice to see Dufner get off to a good start, but we have seen this before. His last three tournaments, including the Bay Hill Invitational won by Woods, featured a Dufner score in the 60s. 

After a couple of days, he starts missing fairways and his putting becomes inconsistent. This is not the course to expect such issues to lead to success over the course of four days. 

3. Tiger Woods: 

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 05:  Tiger Woods hits a shot during the first round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Let me state that Lee Westwood is looking strong and could very well be featured all four days on the leaderboard, but Woods has been intriguing on day one. 

With a sloppy course, Woods is playing strong golf and is avoiding disasters. He is doing what he needs to do in order to tame a wet course. 

If he can hold on to his current two-under score into day two, watch out. This tournament will quickly become about whether golfers can chase down Woods.