Scott off to great start in title defence

GOLF: US Masters champion Adam Scott began his defence at Augusta well with a three-under par 69 to sit a shot behind leader American Bill Haas after yesterday's first round.

Scott (pictured) is joined in second spot by 2012 winner Bubba Watson and South African Louis Oosthuizen, who was runner-up to Watson two years ago.

Scott at one point held the lead before putting his tee shot at the par three 12th into the water and taking a double-bogey five.

It was also a good day for fellow Aussies Marc Leishman, who fired a two-under par 70, and John Senden, who was a further two shots back with an even-par 72.

Pre-tournament favourite Jason Day, who had been in doubt with a thumb injury, shot a disappointing three-over par, while Aussie amateur Oliver Goss was on four-over.

Former world No.1s Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald shot rounds of 71 and 79, respectively.