After the first day of the Masters, there were 10 notes to know

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A major champion with a mixed history at Augusta National had the best Masters round of his career Thursday.
Here are the top numbers and notes to know from Day 1 of the Masters.
That DeChambeau looked little like the one who shot 65 at Augusta National on Thursday, the lowest round he has carded here in 25 tries.
Barring a Friday morning charge by someone, DeChambeau will hold the outright lead following a Masters round for the first time.
Just one shot back is smiling golf ball-killing machine Scottie Scheffler, who dissected Augusta National with a bogey-free 66 on Thursday.
Entering the week, Scheffler scrambled at a rate of 62.7 percent in his young Masters career.
In his first appearance at Augusta National, Scheffler lost 0.72 strokes with his approaches per round.
Before Thursday, Homa had never broken par on the first nine at Augusta National in any tournament round.


Rain didn’t stop the fireworks from happening, even though it delayed the start of the 88th Masters by a few hours.

Thursday was the best Masters round of a major champion who has a mixed record at Augusta National. In the meantime, the unwavering leader in golf kept up his recent dominance.

Here are the key figures and insights from the first day of the Masters.

1. Known for his bold and boundary-pushing remarks, Bryson DeChambeau once said something that made green jackets wrinkle all over Georgia: because of his enormous distance, Augusta National “played like a par 67” for him. On the following Sunday, DeChambeau was humiliated as he was 13 shots behind leader Dustin Johnson and 12 over by his own self-imposed par.

In the last round, he was paired with Bernhard Langer, who was sixty-three years old at the time and the oldest man to qualify for the Masters. That week, Langer was outran by DeChambeau by an average of 64 yards; however, the two-time Masters champion gained the last advantage, defeating him that Sunday (71 to 73) and on the scoreboard (two shots).

DeChambeau did not resemble the player who shot 65 at Augusta National on Thursday, which was his lowest score in 25 attempts. Previously, DeChambeau had lost almost half a stroke per round putting because he was so confused by the greens here. He improved his putter game the most of any player on Thursday, gaining 3 points71 strokes. Not only did he have 15 greens in regulation today, but going into the week, his career average was four more than that as well.

Investigate further.

The “slightly more astute” version of Bryson DeChambeau is the leader of the Masters.

2. For the first time since the Masters, DeChambeau will be the clear leader after a round, barring a Friday morning charge by someone. In2019, he and opponent Brooks Koepka shared the lead after round one after an opening 66, but by the time Tiger Woods stormed to a historic victory that Sunday, he was essentially forgotten following a second-round 75.

This is the fourth time since winning the U.S. Open that DeChambeau has opened a major with a round in the 60s. Can he maintain this momentum heading into Round 2? s. Open in 2020 at Winged Foot. He had a cumulative score of five over par in those two subsequent rounds.

Three. Scottie Scheffler, the smiling golf ball killer who destroyed Augusta National on Thursday with a bogey-free 66, is just one shot back. Scheffler has been ranked third in the world since the ranking’s inception in 1986. 1. A round of 66 or less to begin a Masters. The last two saw historic finishes to their weeks: Dustin Johnson broke the record for the most points ever at the Masters Tournament in 2020 with a score of -20. The biggest 54-hole lead in men’s major history was blown by Greg Norman in 1996 (six shots).

Scheffler’s most underappreciated skill is probably his short game ability. With well over half a stroke gained per 18 holes, he was fifth on the PGA Tour going into the week. With a field-high 2.8 shots in that metric, he outperformed himself on Thursday. In his brief Masters career, Scheffler scrambled at a rate of 62.7% going into this week. He was 5 out of 5 on Thursday.

4. However, there’s a trend that should worry everyone in the field who isn’t Scheffler. Since making his debut in 2020, he has statistically been the best ball striker at the Masters, and he is only getting better. Scheffler lost 0 point72 strokes due to his approaches in each round during his debut at Augusta National. That has increased annually, and in 2023 it will reach a career-best 1 point71 per round. He improved his approach shots by 2 point nine strokes on Thursday.

Scheffler shot bogey-free for the first time in his Masters career on Thursday. In twenty of his previous twenty-one PGA Tour rounds, he has beaten the field scoring average, and he hasn’t posted a score over par since August. 26. He is currently eight shots ahead of everyone else in the major championships since the start of 2020, having shot 68 under par during that time.

5. A fair amount of attention was being paid to two exceptionally talented rookies from the Masters who participated in the Ryder Cup last year coming into the week. The defending U.S. champion Wyndham Clark is the first player to make his Masters debut. S. Since 1970, the Open champion. Ludvig Åberg is the only man to have played in a Ryder Cup before his first major, and he has shot into the world’s top 10. The excitement was well-founded.

However, a different player from that victorious European team—a one-man show who took home the DP World Tour Championship last autumn—was not listed on the pre-tournament debutant banner. It was played by 23-year-old Nicolai Højgaard on Thursday. Højgaard had three holes left to play and was 5 under when play was stopped due to darkness. Højgaard finished his round in the top 10, but he was still in the top 10 in terms of strokes gained approach and around the green on Thursday.

Having won three times on the DP World Tour, Højgaard has some notable names in his rearview mirror. Among the runners-up in Dubai last autumn were Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland. In the 2021 Italian Open, Fleetwood and Adrian Meronk came in second and third, respectively. His best 2024 result was a second-place showing at Torrey Pines in January.

6. It wasn’t intended for Danny Willett to compete in the Masters this year. Following surgery on his left shoulder last year, doctors informed him that he would be sidelined for a period of 12 to 18 months. Willett, though, wasn’t expected to take home the green jacket in 2016. His opponent, Jordan Spieth, was a player vying for consecutive green jackets from wire to wire, and he wasn’t expected to beat him.

Here, Willett is developing a habit of going above and beyond expectations. Willett opened with one of the most impressive scores in recent Masters history—68—in his first competitive round in 207 days. In the first two rounds combined last year, the Englishman lost over three point three strokes. Sixth in the field, he gained 2 points today.

The best major finish that Willett has had since his unlikely victory here in 2016 is a tie for sixth at the 2019 Open.

7. Max Homa is off to a record-breaking 4 under par after 13 holes, easily his best Masters start to date. Homa had never during a tournament round at Augusta National broken par on the first nine before this past Thursday. He was within striking distance of the top of the board in Round 1 at the turn, playing bogey-free.

Over the past ten years, Homa—one of the more well-known characters in the game—has steadily ascended the professional golf ladder. Two wins on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2014 and 2016 went to the 2013 NCAA Division I champion. Since 2021, he has won five times on the PGA Tour, having only triumphed once in his first 109 career starts. He achieved his first career top-10 result in a major championship at the 2023 Open Championship. A few weeks later, he validated that with his first-ever Ryder Cup appearance for the United States.

He’s earned his ascent on the course, having made significant progress in nearly all of the major metrics over the previous five years. The next logical step for him would be to challenge for a major championship on Sunday. Is this week going to be it?

8. Like many previous Masters champions, defending champion Jon Rahm faltered early on. Rahm becomes the sixth player in the last eight years to defend their title here and shoot over par in the opening round. The Spaniard wasn’t himself with the driver on Thursday: at the Masters, he led all qualified players in strokes gained off the tee per round from his debut in 2017 through 2023. He was eliminated from that category almost a half a stroke in Round 1.

Only three men—Tiger Woods (2001–02), Nick Faldo (1989–90), and Jack Nicklaus (1965–66)—have won the Masters twice in a row. With first-round scores below par, all three of them began their consecutive victories. Rahm is eight strokes behind DeChambeau; no player who has trailed by more than seven after 18 holes has gone on to win the Masters.

9. With a 71 to start the Masters, Rory McIlroy recorded his lowest first-round score in six years. McIlroy played the par 4s in a total of 15 overs during the five tournaments between, with a Round 1 scoring average of 73 points 8 at Augusta National. Even though he played the par 5s in even par, McIlroy recorded a red number—the first time in 15 tries that he had failed to break par on those four holes.

Before play was halted, Woods was 1 under through 13 holes, a strong start for the five-time winner. At No. 21, Woods made a birdie. 1. During his career, this was a notoriously disastrous hole for him. Tiger hadn’t opened a Masters with a birdie since 1998. Woods will break a tie with Gary Player for sixth place all-time if he completes his opening round under par. This will be his 52nd round in the red during his Masters career.

Ten. On Thursday, Patrick Cantlay made eagle on the 17th hole, only the fourth time in the history of the tournament and the first at the Masters since Davis Love III did so in 1998. In Masters Tournament play, players signed for a two on this hole more than 7,200 times.

Following Round 1, ninety-five percent of men’s major champions have been at or within five of the lead since 2000. 26 out of the previous 30 Masters winners started the second round at or within five shots of the lead.

(Top image: Jamie Squire/Getty Images; Scottie Scheffler, left, and Ted Scott).

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