Lucky escape for DeChambeau in Masters

Andrew Both
·2-min read

Bryson DeChambeau smashed his tee shots massive distances but found his fair share of trouble en route to a two-under-par 70 in Thursday's opening round at the Masters.

Deciding against using the 48-inch driver he had been tinkering with on practice days, DeChambeau instead stayed with the more standard 45.5-inch shaft that he wielded so brilliantly to win the recent US Open by six strokes.

But Augusta National can be a tough beast to tame, and an early double-bogey at the par-five 13th left the American behind the proverbial eight-ball.

In the end, he was happy with his score and to be just five strokes behind leader Paul Casey.

"This golf course, as much as I'm trying to attack it, it can bite back," he said.

"It's an amazing test of golf no matter what way you play it. I tried to take on some risk today. It didn't work out as well as I thought it would have, but at the end of the day I'm proud of myself."

DeChambeau hits his tee shots with such ferocity that it seems every swing risks serious back injury.

Playing companion Jon Rahm, one of the tour's longest hitters, regularly found himself 20 yards or so behind DeChambeau.

"There was a couple of them that were reality checks," said the Spaniard, who is not used to being outhit.

"(On the eighth hole) he seemed to toe it and I hit mine good and he was still way ahead of me."

DeChambeau, who started on the 10th, provided a running commentary as he played, his comments clearly audible in the spectator-free silence.

"Oh no," he groaned after hitting a big hook from the 11th tee, a shot so bad he hit a provisional in case it was lost.

Fortune smiled on him, however, as his first shot ended in a half decent position and he saved par.

But Augusta reared up and bit him at the par-five 13th, where he hooked his second shot into the azaleas left of the green, and again hit a provisional that he cut into Rae's Creek.

Staring at a high number if he could not find his first ball, he was mightily relieved when his caddie located it after a couple of minutes.

DeChambeau took a penalty stroke from the bush and compounded his misery by duffing his chip on his way to an inglorious seven.

He fought back to get under par, but had a hiccup with a bogey at his 16th hole, the par-four seventh, where he hooked his drive into the pines and air-mailed the green with his second shot, leaving himself in an impossible position above the hole and behind a bunker.