To quote Roy McAvoy from the movie Tin Cup, "When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment or the moment defines you."
There were plenty of defining moments during the first round of the 2014 Masters. Some of these moments propelled golfers closer to joining the ranks of legends. Others, however, may have dug too deep of a hole to climb out of.
To say the leaderboard after Round 1 at Augusta National is surprising may be the understatement of the year. Plenty of the world's top-ranked golfers navigated through the treacherous course on Thursday, but few came out in the red.
Here's a look at the players currently comprising the top of the leaderboard, as well as some notable names who aren't:
|2014 Masters Round 1 Leaderboard and Notables|
To view the complete in-depth Masters leaderboard, visit Masters.com.
It's incredible what a major tournament can do to the world's best golfers.
Thursday at Augusta National featured some great conditions; however, the course played as difficult as ever.
With greens as slick as glass and dangerous obstacles like Rae's Creek around almost every corner, even the fine weather couldn't save many top-tier pros.
To put this into perspective, Ryan Lavner of the Golf Channel tweeted a very telling statistic:
So, if these players aren't currently in the mix, then who is?
That would be world No. 31 Bill Haas.
Haas is no stranger to posting a low first-round score at Augusta. Last year, he began with a one-under 71—his lowest round of the tournament—and finished T20.
His masterful performance on Thursday included six birdies—he played Amen Corner at one under—and just two bogeys.
However, maintaining a first-round lead at the Masters is a difficult task, according to a tweet from ESPN Stats and Info:
If Haas had the most surprising low round on the day, then it was Phil Mickelson who had the surprising high round.
Mickelson shot a four-over 76 to begin the 2014 Masters and sits eight strokes back from the lead—a very difficult margin to overcome.
Lefty's triple-bogey seven on the par-four seventh hole all but doomed his round.
He was in decent shape after just barely missing the fairway to the left side off the tee. Next, his approach sailed wide to the right and trickled to the back fringe. That's where the trouble began.
Lacking his typical touch, he raced his chip well past the hole and caught a slope, propelling the ball off the green once again. His comeback chip just missed its mark and rolled about eight feet past the pin.
After a couple of choppy-looking putts, he tapped in for his seven.
During an interview with Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel after his round, Mickelson's focus is now on simply making the cut, according to a tweet from Tilghman:
Watch out for Lee Westwood in Round 2.
The Englishman is one of the steadies players at Augusta. He's posted three top-10 finishes over the last four years, including a T8 finish in 2013.
Westwood took a tragic bogey on the 18th hole on Thursday, finishing at one over par. If anyone is poised to make a run on Friday, it will be him.
The surging Rory McIlroy is also hanging around. He's in good position at one under par and could certainly go low on Friday.
The young man from Northern Ireland had a bit of a roller-coaster round on Thursday, posting three bogeys and four birdies. If he can cut down on the mistakes going forward, he will certainly be a factor.
Can Adam Scott repeat as champion?
His first-round 69 sure bodes well. If Scott can keep up his momentum, he will be just the fourth golfer ever to win back-to-back Masters tournaments.
Scott almost had a mistake-free first round, recording five birdies and 12 pars on the day. However, he fell victim to Amen Corner, scoring a double bogey on the par-three 12th hole after his tee shot found the water.
So far, the 2014 Masters is everything it promised to be. It's been intense, joyful, heartbreaking and exciting all at the same time. This is why the Masters remains one of the most highly anticipated sporting events in the world.
It's very easy to speculate that the action will just intensify on Friday, as these aforementioned players will continue to strive for the coveted green jacket.
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