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Bryson DeChambeau on top at the Masters

Bryson DeChambeau on top at the Masters

Bryson DeChambeau produced a back nine birdie blitz to open up a one-shot lead after day one of the 2024 Masters Tournament but he had World Number One Scottie Scheffler breathing down his neck at Augusta National Golf Club.

Bryson DeChambeau

DeChambeau was Low Amateur at the Masters in 2016 but that tie for 21st is his best finish in seven appearances at the year's opening Major Championship, a record of which he made a mockery on Thursday.

The American opened with three birdies and added another five in six holes from the 12th to get to seven under, looking in total control with a three-shot lead in testing, windy conditions.

But Scheffler has won two of his last three starts - finishing second last time out - and the 2022 champion birdied four of his last seven holes in a bogey-free effort to sit just a shot back.

Dane Nicolai Højgaard was then at five under but he will have to return to complete the last three holes of his first found on Friday after the start of day one was delayed by two-and-a-half hours due to storms.

Danny Willett - the 2016 champion - was back playing six months ahead of schedule after shoulder surgery and carded a 68 to sit at four under, a shot clear of Kiwi Ryan Fox and Australian Cameron Davis.

Nine groups had holes left to play when fading light stopped play, with Max Homa, Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Reed, Matthieu Pavon, Ludvig Åberg and Tommy Fleetwood all in the top ten and set for an early start on day two.

DeChambeau left himself six feet at the first and then got up and down on the par-five second and short par-four third in a fast start.

A three-putt at the ninth stalled his progress but he hit back with a tee-shot to 17 feet at the 12th and then hit a stunning second after a ragged tee-shot to set up a gain on the par-five next.

Another two-putt birdie followed at the par-five 15th before DeChambeau put a tee-shot to six feet at the 16th and made the most of a fortunate bounce from the trees on the next to hole a 31-footer for an eighth birdie of the day.

"I shot 65 today and that was one of the best rounds of golf I've played in a long time," said DeChambeau. "There's three more days to go and I'm not losing sight of that fact, that it's right there in front of me. Just got to go execute.

"I knew it was going to be a tough day today with the wind and even tomorrow. So a lot of patience is required around this golf course and making sure you're just stroking on your line, putting it good, hitting good iron shots and driving it well.

"In order to win Major Championships, especially out here, you've got to do everything well."

Scheffler got up and down from just in front of the second green and holed from 18 feet on the sixth but really came to life after the turn.

He kickstarted his round with a holed bunker shot on the 12th and then got up and down on the 13th, made a two-putt birdie on the 15th and left himself just three feet on the next to get within one.

"It's always nice getting around here bogey-free," he said. "I did a good job of staying patient today. We kept the golf course in front of us. I executed some really nice up-and-downs to keep the round going.

"I enjoy coming here and competing in this golf tournament. The first day is over and I'm off to a good start.

"I've had some good results in the last month or so. And I'm trying to use that in a positive way. But when you step up there on the first tee, I'm not thinking about last week and I'm not thinking about the week before that. I'm thinking about the shot I'm trying to hit and that's pretty much it.

"It's definitely nice in the preparation knowing that my game is in a good spot. I was just kind of excited to get the week started and so far I'm off to a good start."

Debutant Højgaard chipped in at the seventh and 12th, adding five further birdies and two bogeys in his 15 completed holes.

Willett birdied three of his last four holes in a 68, Fox turned in five under with the help of an eagle on the eighth but had to settle for a 69 and Davis made five birdies and two bogeys.

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