Round 1 of the 2014 Masters is in full swing, and some surprising faces have already made their way to the top of the leaderboard.
A majority of the 97-player field has already teed off, but a handful of golfers are still to come.
Here, we'll you get you up to speed on the leaderboard from Augusta National and update you on some of the top performances through the first half of Day 1.
Jonas Blixt (-2)
Coming into this spring's Masters, Sweden's Jonas Blixt was an afterthought.
But apparently the world No. 56, who is making his debut at the Masters, never got the memo, instead lighting up Augusta National on Thursday morning en route to shooting a two-under 70 in Round 1.
Midway through Blixt's round, the Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman broke down the former Florida State star's lack of experience on the big stage:
Jonas Blixt has played 2 previous majors. 26th in last year's Open. 4th at last year's PGA. Now he's leading The Masters by 2.— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) April 10, 2014
Blixt's eye-opening performance included five birdies in a span of seven holes on the front nine. Bogeys on the fourth and seventh holes kept the 29-year-old from running away on the leaderboard, but they didn't slow his momentum, as he closed out the front nine with back-to-back birdies.
The two-time PGA Tour winner would birdie the 13th hole on the back nine to pull further ahead of the field but fell from the lead after bogeying the par-five 15th and par-four 18th.
Nonetheless, Blixt is in phenomenal shape heading into Friday's second round after capitalizing on his birdie opportunities early and finding a way to overcome the Day 1 nerves.
Miguel Angel Jimenez (-4 through 9 holes)
Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez started fast on Thursday and avoided committing any costly errors on his way to a four-under 32 on the front nine.
The 50-year-old Spaniard started strong with a birdie on the par-five second hole and then patiently settled for par on three consecutive holes before turning in back-to-back birdies on holes Nos. 6 and 7. As he's done at majors in the past, Jimenez quickly climbed the leaderboard, per ESPN senior researcher Justin Ray:
Miguel Angel Jimenez: shot in the 60's in opening round 6 times in his last 8 majors. Par/better in 1st Rd last 4 years at Masters.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) April 10, 2014
Despite building momentum early on the front nine, The Mechanic was unable to cash in on the par-five eighth hole, settling for par.
Jimenez still has some tricky holes left to play in Round 1, but he has no doubt been one of Thursday's biggest surprises. If he can close the round as strong as he began it, he's almost guaranteed to be in contention for the green jacket heading into the weekend.
Kevin Stadler (-2)
Kevin Stadler, whose father, Craig, won the Masters in 1982, is playing in his first Masters tournament this spring, making the duo the first father-son combination to play in the same Masters event.
The 34-year-old Kevin qualified by winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open back in February but looked like a seasoned vet at Augusta National on Thursday, birdieing four holes en route to shooting a two-under 70.
Stadler recorded bogeys on holes Nos. 6 and 11 but bounced back from them brilliantly, birdieing the seventh hole and shooting back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and 13.
Before the tournament started, his father talked about the joy and pride of participating in one of golf's most prestigious tournaments alongside his son, per The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga:
"It’s emotional in a very, very good way. I had envisioned this and knew it would happen someday. I was hoping it would happen someday. I was pretty sure. The rest was up to him."
Unfortunately, the 60-year-old former champion is on pace to miss the cut for the seventh straight year at Augusta, bogeying seven of his first 11 holes and shooting a six-over 42 on the front nine.
Kevin still has a long way to go, but he has an excellent shot at making the cut and playing into the weekend at his first-ever Masters. If he can have better luck on the par fives in Friday's second round, he can potentially build on his strong start.
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