Masters 2014: Bill Haas leads after opening round of 68

American Bill Haas set the tempo yesterday as he fired a four-under-par 68 to claim sole possession of the lead at Augusta.

A day fraught with unbalanced weather and some pin placements made life difficult early on for many golfers, with only four able to break 70 with Haas headlining the pack.

Two previous champions in Adam Scott and Bubba Watson, as well as 2012 runner-up Louis Oosthuizen, are only a shot off the lead.

Hass had never managed to break 70 in 16 rounds of play at Augusta National – but gradually worked his way to the top of the leaderboard after dropping a shot at the first hole.

It’s likely that Haas made his round by playing Amen Corner under par, where both Scott and Oosthuizen found Rae’s Creek.

Haas picked up birdies at 13 and 14 and, although he gave one back at the 17th, a fine approach to the closing hole set up a sixth birdie of the day.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Haas said: "I made some nice putts early, a 15 footer on two that settled me down a bit and a birdie at the fourth that felt like an eagle.

"A nice par save on five and the putter was hot, I also hit some good shots down the stretch.

"I've never broken 70 so I'm ecstatic to shoot 68 today."

First Round Leaderboard

-4 B Haas (US)

-3 B Watson (US)

-3 A Scott (Aus)

-3 L Oosthuizen (SA)

-2 B Snedeker (US)

-2 J Walker (US)

-2 G Woodland (US)

-2 J Blixt (Swe)

-2 K Stadler (US)

-2 KJ Choi (S Kor)

-2 M Leishman (Aus)