Masters R1: Scottie Scheffler off to hot start as Bryson DeChambeau leads

LIV Golf's Bryson DeChambeau and World No.1 Scottie Scheffler off to fast starts at The Masters.

Scottie Scheffler is off to a hot start at The Masters
Scottie Scheffler is off to a hot start at The Masters

Scottie Scheffler proved why he is a red-hot tournament favourite at Augusta National this week as he fired a flawless 66 to move into solo second in the opening round of The Masters.

The World No.1 went out in 34 and came back in 32 for a bogey-free 6-under 66. 

It was enough to move Scheffler, 27, into solo second and one shot behind early pacesetter Bryson DeChambeau.

LIV Golf star DeChambeau, 30, also went out in 34 but came home in 31, highlighted by three consecutive birdies from the 15th.

DeChambeau leads The Masters on day one
DeChambeau leads The Masters on day one

When DeChambeau was 26 years old he described Augusta National as a 'par 67' because he could reach all the par-5s in two shots.

"If the conditions stay the way they are, that's what I feel like par is for me," he previously said.  

"That's not me being big-headed. I can hit it as far as I want to."

Speaking to a pool of scribes after his opening round on Thursday afternoon, DeChambeau claimed that comment was taken out of context.

"Again, the comment was definitely misinterpreted. I said it, and I respect people's opinions on it.

"For me, I have a level of respect for this golf course that's a little bit different than a couple years ago, and clearly today was a great test of golf, and I was able to conquer a very difficult golf course today.

"Regarding the 67 comment, you know, you mess up. I'm not a perfect person. Everybody messes up. You learn from your mistake, and that was definitely one."

DeChambeau was a 33/1 shot with most bookmakers entering the first round, but he has now been slashed into 6/1. 

Scheffler was installed as a warm 4/1 tournament favourite and he has now come down to 6/4 with some firms. 

Related: DeChambeau after taking Masters lead - "I'm really not divisive"

Scheffler is off to a hot start at Augusta
Scheffler is off to a hot start at Augusta

Scheffler is looking to win his second Masters title having slipped on the green jacket in 2022. 

He is also bidding to win a third tournament in his last four starts on Tour. 

Scheffler said after the round: 

"It was pretty challenging out there, just wanted to stay patient, it's so challenging when the wind blows out here but I did a good job out there. I just wanted to control myself, try to be committed to my shots and execute that plan. I'm not thinking too much outside of that."

DeChambeau is also going in search of his second major title having etched his name on the US Open trophy in 2020.

Elsewhere on day one, England's Danny Willett returned to the game after a lengthy layoff due to surgery with a solid 4-under 68. 

Rory McIlroy was playing alongside Scheffler and he opened with a steady 1-under 71.

McIlroy had got to 2-under par on the back nine but he drove up close to a tree on the 17th and it led to a bogey. 

Nevertheless, a 71 marked McIlroy's lowest-ever first round at The Masters. 

"It's satisfying because of the way I've started here over the years, but I feel like I could have been much lower today," said McIlroy.

"Playing beside Scottie, who is one of the leaders, I will still be able to see how I'm doing tomorrow."

He added: "The way the conditions were today, anything under par was a decent score. I will rue the last few holes, I feel like I could have got a bit more out of it, but we're in a good position."

McIlroy opened with a 1-under 71
McIlroy opened with a 1-under 71

McIlroy is looking to become just the sixth player in the history of the game to complete the career grand slam in the modern era. 

Tiger Woods is still out on the golf course but he will not get to finish his first round on Thursday as a result of the first-round tee-times being delayed by two and half hours earlier in the day due to heavy rain and thunderstorms. 

Woods finds himself alongside McIlroy on 1-under par but with the back nine still to complete. 

Defending champion Jon Rahm had a day to forget with a 1-over 73. 


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