The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 10, 2014

Haas grabs Masters lead with 68, Scott in the mix

— AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — With dad in his ear, Bill Haas turned in the best round of his Masters career Thursday.

Now he wants to do what his father never could — finish the job.

Haas birdied the final hole for a 4-under 68, the first time he has broken 70 in five appearances at Augusta National.

"I knew that stat before today's round, so to shoot that score was pretty good," the 31-year-old American said. "I had some nice putts, a couple of 20 footers. Sometimes, you're happy to two-putt those. To have those go in can certainly swing your score one way or another."

Haas' father, Jay, played in the Masters 22 times, his five top-10 finishes topped by a tie for third in 1995.

Jay never won a major, though.

Maybe his son can take care of that.

"We're staying together this week. He's on the range with me in the morning," Bill Haas said. "It's great having him at home and on the range."

Defending champion Adam Scott was off to a strong start in his quest to stay dressed in green despite a stumble in Amen Corner, while a trio of Augusta rookies showed no sense of awe in their Masters debuts.

Scott shook off a double-bogey at the par-3 12th, a tiny little hole in Amen Corner that caused big trouble for a number of players. The Aussie bounced back with a birdie at the 14th and finished with a 69, one shot off the lead.

In contrast to Haas, it was the fifth time in his last six Augusta rounds that Scott has scored under 70, showing he still has the game to make a run at being the first back-to-back Masters champion since Tiger Woods in 2001 and 2002. Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo are the only other repeat champions in the tournament's 81-year history.

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