Masters Predictions 2014: Final Day 1 Projections for the Augusta Field

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Masters Predictions 2014: Final Day 1 Projections for the Augusta Field
Harry How/Getty Images

They say it's not how you start, but how you finish that counts. Nonetheless, the 97 players in this year's 2014 Masters field will be looking for a strong start this week.

The year's first major tournament, the 2014 Masters is set to tee off on Thursday morning and continue through Sunday evening at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. With weather conditions expected to be near perfect throughout the event, there's a buzz in the air.

Still, it'll be the first Masters since 1994 that won't include Tiger Woods. With the four-time winner set to sit out for the first time in his career following back surgery, defending champion Adam Scott enters as the favorite to claim the green jacket for a second time.

But three-time champion Phil Mickelson and young guns Rory McIlroy and Jason Day are each threats to win as well. 

With Round 1 set to get underway, let's take a look at my Day 1 projections for the entire field at Augusta as well as a breakdown of the tournament favorites.

2014 Masters Day 1 Projections
Pos. Player Total Score
1 Dustin Johnson -7 65
T2 Matt Kuchar -6 66
T2 Sergio Garcia -6 66
T4 Adam Scott -5 67
T4 Luke Donald -5 67
T4 K.J. Choi -5 67
T4 Brandt Snedeker -5 67
T8 Jason Day -4 68
T8 Henrik Stenson -4 68
T8 Peter Hanson -4 68
T8 Justin Rose -4 68
T8 Lee Westwood -4 68
T13 Rory McIlroy -3 69
T13 Keegan Bradley -3 69
T13 Zach Johnson -3 69
T16 Phil Mickelson -2 70
T16 Hunter Mahan -2 70
T16 Francesco Molinari -2 70
T16 Jamie Donaldson -2 70
T16 Nick Watney -2 70
T16 Martin Kaymer -2 70
T16 Trevor Immelman -2 70
T16 Angel Cabrera -2 70
T16 Graeme McDowell -2 70
T16 Rickie Fowler -2 70
T16 Harris English -2 70
T16 Bill Haas -2 70
T16 Jordan Spieth -2 70
T16 Ian Poulter -2 70
T30 Steve Stricker -1 71
T30 Louis Oosthuizen -1 71
T30 Marc Leishman -1 71
T30 Hideki Matsuyama -1 71
T30 Webb Simpson -1 71
T30 Charl Schwartzel -1 71
T30 Jimmy Walker -1 71
T30 Jason Dufner -1 71
T30 Patrick Reed -1 71
T30 Jim Furyk -1 71
T40 Billy Horschel E 72
T40 Matt Every E 72
T40 Branden Grace E 72
T40 John Senden E 72
T40 Thomas Bjorn E 72
T40 Miguel Angel Jimenez E 72
T40 Brendon De Jonge E 72
T47 Stewart Cink +1 73
T47 Vijay Singh +1 73
T47 Boo Weekley +1 73
T47 D.A. Points +1 73
T47 Darren Clarke +1 73
T47 Mike Weir +1 73
T47 Steven Bowditch +1 73
T54 Kevin Streelman +2 74
T54 Fred Couples +2 74
T54 Matt Jones +2 74
T54 Ernie Els +2 74
T54 Ryan Moore +2 74
T54 Gary Woodland +2 74
T60 Thorbjorn Olesen +3 75
T60 Victor Dubuisson +3 75
T60 Lucas Glover +3 75
T60 Bubba Watson +3 75
T64 Yong-Eun Yang +4 76
T64 Tim Clark +4 76
T64 Ben Crenshaw +4 76
T64 Scott Stallings +4 76
T68 Bernhard Langer +5 77
T68 Joost Luiten +5 77
T68 Roberto Castro +5 77
T68 Sandy Lyle +5 77
T72 Matthew Fitzpatrick +6 78
T72 Sang-Moon Bae +6 78
T72 Thongchai Jaidee +6 78
T72 Jonas Blixt +6 78
T72 Matteo Manassero +6 78
T72 Chris Kirk +6 78
T72 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano +6 78
T72 Mark O'Meara +6 78
T80 Oliver Goss +7 79
T80 Stephen Gallacher +7 79
T80 Derek Ernst +7 79
T80 David Lynn +7 79
T80 Jordan Niebrugge +7 79
T80 Russell Henley +7 79
T86 Michael McCoy +8 80
T86 Ken Duke +8 80
T86 Ian Woosnam +8 80
T86 John Huh +8 80
T86 Chang Woo Lee +8 80
T86 Garrick Porteous +8 80
T86 Jose Maria Olazabal +8 81
T93 Graham Delaet +9 81
T93 Tom Watson +9 81
T93 Kevin Stadler +9 81
96 Craig Stadler +10 82
97 Larry Mize +12 84

Past champions are highlighted.

*Below scores are projections only.

Adam Scott (-5)

Up until recently, Scott had struggled at the Masters, going eight years without a single top-10 finish from 2003 through 2010. But after tying for second in 2011 and tying for eighth in 2012, Scott took the final step in 2013, defeating Angel Cabrera in a playoff to secure his first major win.

Therefore, you can expect Scott to be in the mix come Sunday's final round. 

On Thursday, Scott will be grouped with Jason Dufner and Matthew Fitzpatrick and is scheduled to tee off shortly after 10:40 a.m. ET. With excellent conditions on tap for Round 1, expect Scott to work his way up the leaderboard on Day 1. 

The Australian star shot a three-under 69 to begin play in 2013 and has clearly figured out this course over the past three years. 

Rory McIlroy (-3)

Harry How/Getty Images

Despite boasting two major titles and seven top-10 finishes at majors since 2009, McIlroy has always struggled to play his best golf at Augusta National, where he's never finished better than 15th. 

McIlroy missed the cut in 2010 and is coming off a 25th-place finish in 2013. Although many consider him a favorite to win his first green jacket, recent history tells a different story. 

McIlroy talked about his struggles at the Masters leading up to this year's tournament, expressing his desire to turn things around, per The Guardian's Ewan Murray:

I'd be disappointed if I ended my career and wasn't able to go up and have breakfast in the champions' locker room. The way I play golf, the way my game is, Augusta does set up well for me. And for me not to have a top-10 coming into my sixth Masters …

The 24-year-old will tee off with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed on Thursday morning immediately following Scott's group. But even if McIlroy starts fast on Day 1, he'll have to exorcise some serious demons through Sunday in order to achieve his goal.

Phil Mickelson (-2)

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson loves Augusta National, or at least his game does.

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After all, Lefty has a dozen top-10 finishes at this tournament over the past 15 years, including three victories since 2004. However, following a 54th-place finish a year agohis worst since he missed the cut in 1997there's no guarantee the 43-year-old will be in the mix come Sunday. 

Plus, with a strained oblique muscle forcing him to withdraw from the Texas Open last month, it remains to be seen just how healthy Mickelson will be from start to finish this week. 

But with Monday's rain saturating the course, the experienced Mickelson, who will tee off shortly before 2 p.m. ET with Ernie Els and Justin Rose, should turn in a decent first-round score on Thursday. 

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