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Thursday at the Masters: DeChambeau and Scheffler Shine, Past Champions Fall Behind

Thursday's play at the Masters was pushed back by two and a half hours, with the start time being pushed back from 8:00 to 10:30. However, it didn't take long for Bryson DeChambeau to rocket up the leaderboard.


DeChambeau played in the fifth group with Gary Woodland and Thorbjorn Olesen, and he immediately started strong, carding birdies on the first three holes before slowing down for the next eight holes. In the stretch from Hole 4 to Hole 11, he carded seven pars and one bogey (on Hole 9). Five birdies in six holes, specifically on Holes 12, 13, 15, 16, and 17, propelled DeChambeau to a seven-under 65 and a one-stroke lead after the first round.


Similarly, the 2022 Masters Champion and World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler had a strong outing, with four birdies in five holes on the back nine, to card a bogey-free six-under 66. Scheffler played with Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele, and McIlroy finished with an up-and-down 71. In contrast, Schauffele finished with an uneventful 72, with only two birdies and two bogeys on the scorecard.


Nicolai Hojgaard was one of the many players still on the course when play was suspended due to darkness. He had also put together a good round, and he will sleep on a score of five-under through 15 holes.


Several past champions had disappointing days, including champions who were expected to contend, including 2021 Champion Hideki Matsuyama (76), 2015 Champion Jordan Spieth (+2 through 11), 2020 Champion Dustin Johnson (+1 through 10), 2013 Champion Adam Scott (+1 through 13), and 2023 Champion Jon Rahm (73).


Five-time Champion Tiger Woods got the gallery going early, birdieing the first hole, but the rest of his round was pretty uneventful as he ended up at one-under through 13 holes when play was suspended. Still, even if uneventful, the round was a good sign for Tiger's fans, as he is making only his second start of 2024, with the previous start seeing him withdraw from the Genesis Invitational after contracting influenza.


Cover image courtesy of Golf Digest

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