Bryson DeChambeau sets early pace at The Masters

Round 1

Bryson DeChambeau holds a one-shot lead over Scottie Scheffler after a weather-affected opening day at The Masters, as Rory McIlroy made a mixed start to his latest bid for the career Grand Slam.

DeChambeau posted five birdies in a six-hole stretch to set the clubhouse target with a seven-under 65 at Augusta National, where overnight rain and the threat of thunderstorms saw a two-and-a-half-hour delay to the start of play.

The 2020 US Open champion initially held a three-shot cushion over closest challenger Danny Willett, who marked his first start since September with an opening-round 68, only for Scheffler to grab solo second with a brilliant bogey-free 66.

Scheffler – looking to win his second Green Jacket in three years – was playing in the same group as McIlroy, who carded his lowest opening round at Augusta National since 2018 but is six back after combining four birdies with three bogeys in a one-under 71.

Defending champion Jon Rahm stuttered to an opening-round 73 as he bids to become the first back-to-back winner of The Masters since Tiger Woods, who was one under with five holes remaining when play was suspended due to darkness at 7.51pm local time (12.51am BST).

Bookies favourite Scheffler got off to a perfect start.

The first round will resume on Friday at 7.50am (12.50pm BST), with the final threeball of Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa and Tommy Fleetwood having eight holes to complete. The second round begins at 8am (1pm BST), with the tournament expected to be back on schedule going into the weekend.

DeChambeau, previously criticised for saying he would treat Augusta National as like a par-67 course, made the dream start with three consecutive birdies and then cancelled out a bogey at the par-four ninth by taking advantage of the par-three 12th.

The American added another at the par-five next before going on another three-birdie streak from the 15th, while Scheffler threatened to match his total after following a front-nine 34 with a remarkable run after the turn.

Scheffler holed a bunker shot at the 12th and recovered from narrowly avoiding Rae’s Creek at the next to get up and down for birdie, with back-to-back birdies from the 15th moving him into solo second.

The pre-tournament favourite, who has already won twice on the PGA Tour this season, holds solo second ahead of Nicolai Hojgaard, who is two stokes off the lead on five under with three holes of his opening round to complete on Friday morning.

Rory McIlroy battled to an opening round of 71.

Willett mixed seven birdies with three bogeys in an impressive return to action, while Max Homa and Tyrrell Hatton are three and four strokes off the pace respectively with five and four holes left to complete.

McIlroy is in the group tied-17th after an under-par start, with Ryder Cup team-mate Viktor Hovland and Cameron Smith also posting opening 71s, while Matt Fitzpatrick is also six back after a bogey-bogey finish.

Woods rolled back the years with an opening-hole birdie and showed plenty of encouraging signs in his return to competitive action, although the 48-year-old will have to play 23 holes on Friday – his most in one day in an official tournament since 2019.

“It was one of the most tricky days that I’ve ever been a part of,” Woods told reporters. “The wind was all over the place. It was hard to get a beat not only on what direction it was going, but the intensity, and it kept switching. It was a very difficult day.”

He added: “The body is okay. We’ve got some work to do yet tonight.”

Discover more from Marking The Spot

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *