dhe start of the 88th Masters in Augusta (Georgia) had to be postponed two and a half hours due to bad weather. That didn't stop Bryson DeChambeau from taking the lead with five birdies in the last seven holes with a 7-under 65 on a windy Thursday. The 30-year-old 2020 US Open champion is one stroke ahead of fellow American Scottie Scheffler. The world number one, 27 years old, achieved a round of 66 strokes (6 under par). The Texan from Dallas created a perfect starting position to secure the green victory jacket on Sunday for the second time in his career after 2022.

tiger forest, one of the last starters, was among the players who were unable to complete their round due to the approaching darkness. However, the 48-year-old five-time Masters champion impressed with a solid performance. After 13 holes he was in 17th place with 1 under par, well ahead of the current Spanish champion Jon Rahm (42nd with 73 strokes). Stephan Jäger, the only German in the field of 89 participants, needed 74 strokes (2 over par). The 34-year-old Bavarian, based in Chattanooga (Tennessee), will have to fight on Friday to go from 54th place on Friday to the top fifty that makes the cut.

“You learn from your mistakes”

DeChambeau caused a stir in 2020 by claiming that the Augusta National Golf Club course played like a par 67 for him. He has now apologized for his statement at the time: “You can make mistakes. I'm not a perfect person. Everyone makes mistakes. You learn from mistakes, and that was certainly one of them.” He now has more respect for the legendary Augusta golf course. At the same time, he spoke of a “great challenge” that he has overcome. DeChambeau is one of the 13 players in the field that had moved from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf.

Only darkness could stop him: Tiger Woods impressed with a solid performance.

Only darkness could stop him: Tiger Woods impressed with a solid performance.

Image: AP

The Dallas-based Californian started his round with fury: three birdies to start, in which he never let his approach shot land more than two meters from the flag. With eight birdies, the leader only made one bogey. He needed three putts from about 22 meters on the 9th hole. DeChambeau has even more to make up for in his eighth appearance at the first major of the year: his 21st place in 2016 remains his best result in the annals of the Masters, and that as an amateur.

“A very challenging place”

Scheffler, 27, also impressed with his confidence. He left far behind his teammates, the world number two from Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy (17th with 71 strokes) and the Olympic champion Xander Schauffele (32nd with 72 strokes). The top seed achieved the only round of the day without bogeys, mainly because he was able to correctly evaluate the strong wind with the help of his caddy Ted Scott: “It is a very demanding course in these conditions.” Despite the perfect exit, Scheffler explained that he would leave the tournament immediately if his heavily pregnant wife went into labor prematurely.

While one of the twenty debutants impressed (Danish Nicolai Høgaard was third at 3 under par after 15 holes), Jäger dared to make a bold statement on his debut despite his 74: “I played a good round in my first Masters and Here I see the possibility of winning.” The statistics prove that the German was wrong. The last time a professional won the title in 2005 was Tiger Woods, who after the first round was not in the top ten.