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Friday, 12 April 2019
Bryson DeChambeau  (Getty Images)
Bryson DeChambeau (Getty Images)

Bryson DeChambeau produced an incredible finish with four closing birdies to share the lead alongside Brooks Koepka after day one of the Masters Tournament.

Golf fans around the world had been anticipating the opening Major Championship of 2019 and Augusta National did not disappoint, with a remarkable run of scoring in the late groups stretching the field.

The target had been set at three under early in the day and for a long time it looked like there would be a highly congested leaderboard heading into round two as a nine way tie for the lead developed.

But four birdies in a row from the 12th from Koepka moved the three time Major Champion to six under and into a two shot lead.

DeChambeau's incredible finish then saw him catch his fellow American as he signed for a 66 and Koepka parred his way home to record the only bogey free round of the day and share top spot.

Phil Mickelson already has three Green Jackets and he birdied five of his last seven holes to sit at five under, a shot clear of Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter.

Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, debutant Justin Harding, American Kevin Kisner, Spaniard Jon Rahm and 2013 Champion Adam Scott were then three shots off the lead.

DeChambeau claimed his maiden European Tour title in emphatic style at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier this season and he revealed the momentum of those around him helped spur him on on Thursday.

"It's great to have momentum and hear a great atmosphere and it gets you all pumped up," he said. "It creates some adrenaline flow and allows you to get in a different mind‑set.

"What a magical back nine. The wind started to pick up, right around Amen Corner, and it was tough, it was not easy one bit. But we just stuck to what we knew we should have done."

What a magical back nine. We just stuck to what we knew we should have done - Bryson DeChambeau

Koepka missed last season's Masters with a wrist injury but has won two Majors since and once again showed he is a man for the big occasion.

"I keep pretty much the same routine for all the Majors," he said. "It's very simple. There's no added stress during the week. It's pretty much the same people that are staying with me. We pretty much know each other like family at this point."

Koepka had taken advantage of the par five second and joined the lead when he put his second on the tenth to five feet and holed from off the green on the 12th.

De Chambeau made three birdies and two bogeys on the front nine before holing from four feet at the 12th and making the most of the 13th to also join that big group on three under.

Koepka got on the 13th in two, holed a long right to lefter on the next and then produced an exquisite chip from over the back of the 15th to jump ahead but DeChambeau produced a burst of his own.

After bogeying the 14th, he too took advantage of the 15th, almost aced the par three next, chipped in at the 17th and hit the pin on the last for a spectacular finish.

Mickelson birdied the two par fives on the front nine but back to back bogeys on the tenth and 11th left him trailing. The American then birdied the 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 18th to surge up the leaderboard.

Poulter birdied the second and sixth but gave a shot back on the ninth before getting on the 13th in two and holing a clutch ten footer on the 15th. A tee shot to three feet on the next then had the Englishman in a share of the lead before Koepka and DeChambeau pulled away.

Johnson had birdies on the second, eighth, 11th, 13th and 16th with a bogey on the tenth as he looks for a third European Tour title of the season.

I keep pretty much the same routine for all the Majors. It's very simple. There's no added stress - Brooks Koepka

Harding got to four under after birdies on the first, third, sixth, 15th and 16th to go with a bogey on the fifth but he dropped a shot on the last.

Rahm made birdies on the third and fourth but gave them back on the fifth and eighth before picking up shots on the ninth, 11th and 13th.

Aphibarnrat was one over after 12 holes but eagled the 13th and added gains on the 15th and 16th.

Lucas Bjerregaard, Francesco Molinari and Tiger Woods were in the group at two under, a shot clear of Tommy Fleetwood, Bernhard Langer, Thorbjørn Olesen and Louis Oosthuizen.

Defending champion Patrick Reed was one over, two shots clear of World Number One Justin Rose.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WOODS, TigerUSA18-13
T2JOHNSON, DustinUSA18-12
T2SCHAUFFELE, XanderUSA18-12
T2KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-12
T5DAY, JasonAUS18-11
T5SIMPSON, WebbUSA18-11

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