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Bryson holds 1-shot lead on Scottie after Day 1 at Augusta

Andrew Redington / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Bryson DeChambeau holds a very unlikely lead after 18 holes at the Masters following a sizzling 7-under 65 before play was halted due to darkness at Augusta National.

The man sitting one shot behind him is certainly no surprise, as Scottie Scheffler being near the top of a leaderboard is as close to a sure thing as there is in professional golf.

DeChambeau hit the course on a mission after a delay of two-and-a-half hours due to thunderstorms, birdieing the opening three holes to put down an early marker. After a bogey at the ninth, he poured in five birdies on the back nine to match his lowest round ever at a major. That was enough to sit clear of the field when the horn sounded with 30 players yet to finish their opening round.

Place Player Total to par Round 1 score
1 Bryson DeChambeau -7 65
2 Scottie Scheffler -6 66
3 Nicolai Hojgaard -5 Through 15
T-4 Danny Willett -4 68
T-4 Max Homa -4 Through 13
T-6 Tyrrell Hatton -3 Through 14
T-6 Ryan Fox -3 69
T-6 Cameron Davis -3 69
T-9 Corey Conners -2 70
T-9 Byeong Hun An -2 70
T-9 Joaquin Niemann -2 70
T-9 Will Zalatoris -2 70
T-9 Patrick Reed -2 Through 14
T-9 Ludvig Aberg -2 Through 11
T-9 Matthieu Pavon -2 Through 14
T-9 Tommy Fleetwood -2 Through 10

While it's not a shock to see DeChambeau's name at the top of a leaderboard in golf's biggest events, the fact it's the Masters is a surprise. The 2020 U.S. Open champ's average score over his last six rounds at Augusta National is a whopping 75.6 - or almost nine shots more than the target par of 67 he set for himself prior to the 2020 Masters.

Those struggles looked to be long in the past on Thursday, as DeChambeau resembled a wily veteran over the 18 holes, rarely putting himself in poor position. Three birdies over his final four holes ensured he grabbed the clubhouse lead.

While DeChambeau's risk-averse approach was unexpected, Scheffler going bogey-free was just the latest example of why he firmly holds the No. 1 spot in the world rankings. Scheffler rarely looked to be in a spot of bother all day despite gusting winds bringing difficult conditions later in the round. The only time he found himself in a tricky place, he casually holed a bunker shot for birdie from behind the 12th green.

With DeChambeau and Scheffler safely in the clubhouse, a number of chasers in the afternoon wave made a push as darkness approached. Nicolai Hojgaard chipped in twice to get to 5-under and will resume his first round with the tee shot on the par-3 16th. Max Homa was also making a run, with his final shot of the day getting him to 4-under with a birdie on No. 13.

Rory McIlroy broke par in the first round for the first time since 2018 with a 1-under 71 to sit six back, while Tiger Woods got through 13 holes at the same 1-under score. The five-time champ now faces the daunting task of playing 23 holes on Friday as he attempts to break the Masters record for consecutive cuts with 24.

Defending champion Jon Rahm got off to a hot start but faded with a back-nine 39 to finish with a 1-over 73.

Play will resume at 7:50 a.m. ET on Friday with plenty of sunlight in the forecast to complete Round 2 before darkness.

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