DeChambeau and Koepka take route 66 to lead at Augusta

Bryson DeChambeau produced an incredible finish, posting four closing birdies to share the lead with Brooks Koepka at six-under-par the end of day one at the Masters Tournament.

A remarkable run of scoring in the late groups stretched the field at Augusta National, with American DeChambeau amongst a host of European Tour players in the mix going into Friday at the first Major Championship of the year.

Debutant Justin Harding of South Africa was one of the players who had set the target at three under par early in the day, and for a long time it looked like there would be a highly congested leaderboard as a nine-way tie for the lead developed.

But four birdies in a row from the 12th hole from Koepka moved the three-time Major champion to six under par and into a two-shot lead. DeChambeau’s incredible finish saw him catch his fellow American, thanks in part to a wonderful second shot on the 18th, where he was only denied an eagle by the flag. He signed for a 66  – his best round at Augusta – and Koepka parred his way home to record the only bogey-free round of the day and share top spot.

Three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson birdied five of his last seven holes to sit one shot off the lead at five under, a shot clear of Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter.

Harding – who has won five times worldwide in the last year, including his maiden European Tour title at the Qatar Masters – is joined at three under par by Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Kevin Kisner, Adam Scott and Jon Rahm.

Lucas Bjerregaard, who is also making his Masters debut, and Open champion Francesco Molinari and Tiger Woods are amongst a group of 10 players on two under par. Rory McIlroy signed for a one-over 73, and is already seven shots behind the leaders as he bids to complete his career grand slam of majors.

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