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So much of the talk in the lead-up to the Masters centred around Bryson DeChambeau and whether the huge-hitting American was going to make a mockery of the famed Augusta greens.
This year's US Open champion raised eyebrows before his opening round at Augusta by claiming that the par-72 course plays more like a par-67 for him because of his unprecedented long-hitting game.
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“I’m looking at it as a par 67 for me because I can reach all the par-fives in two, no problem,” Bryson DeChambeau said ahead of Day 1 at the Masters.
“If the conditions stay the way they are, that’s what I feel like par is for me.”
If that's the case, then DeChambeau signed off on his first round with a score of three-over.
It's not exactly the sort of score that is going to send shivers throughout the field.
In reality, the 27-year-old's first-round 70 has him nestled amongst a big group of players at two-under - with Paul Casey on top after a stunning opening round 65.
DeChambeau smashed his tee shots massive distances but found his fair share of trouble en route to a solid, if not spectacular 70 in the opening round.
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.
Unsurprisingly, golf's new pantomime villain copped it on social media after his pre-tournament confidence was given a harsh reality check.
Reminder from #Bryson:
He doesn’t see Augusta as a par 72.
“I’m looking at it as a par-67 because I can reach all the par fives in two, No problem. And I can get to the third with a three wood, never mind a driver.” -Bryson DeChambeau pic.twitter.com/QBNwyuwC7c
— Amanda Guerra (@AmandaGuerraCBS) November 12, 2020
So I guess he +3 in his mind
— Kendall (@kgunter22) November 12, 2020
Look at this distance from DeChambeau my goodness! pic.twitter.com/CWLbNNZRGF
— Brody Logan (@BrodyLogan) November 12, 2020
Bryon “I’ll overpower any golf course” DeChambeau pic.twitter.com/4XuCNgPJ07
— 3 Balls (@3ballssport) November 12, 2020
None of the last 30 winners of #TheMasters made worse than 6 on any single hole. Bryson DeChambeau made 7 on his fourth hole of the Tournament (the 13th).
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) November 12, 2020
— Jon Keen (@JonKeenNLSports) November 12, 2020
What a beautiful game... RT @RonGreenJr: 62-year old Larry Mize averaged 247.4 off the tee Thursday.
27-year old Bryson DeChambeau averaged 334.6 off the tee.
They both shot 70.
— Jeff Slanovec (@JeffSlanovec) November 12, 2020
— MB (@Enigmahimovic) November 12, 2020
In the end, DeChambeau was happy with his score and to be just five strokes behind first round leader, 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.
"I'm still kind of an underdog to the total field, I personally think..."
Bryson DeChambeau says that he struggled early on but was pleased to have come through the day finishing with a six-footer for birdie to record a two-under 70. pic.twitter.com/zH1AHlATG2
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) November 12, 2020
"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.
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