Not even Bryson DeChambeau could quite believe the way his Masters began on Thursday morning.
After three days of fanfare over his prodigious length and its potential to shake Augusta National to its core, the Vegas favorite began his opening round Thursday with a roller coaster that’d make Coney Island proud.
DeChambeau teed off on No. 10 shortly after 10:30 a.m. ET. Shortly after 10:40 a.m., he stood over a four-footer for birdie.
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It was a picture-perfect beginning to Bryson’s barbaric Masters conquest — a massive drive and a tightly spun wedge. But his birdie putt never came close, diving straight past the hole and off to the right. He grabbed the bridge of his nose and looked toward the heavens as he tapped in for par. Little did he realize, that’d be the most normal of his play at Amen Corner.
On No. 11, DeChambeau’s 3-wood off the tee missed about 100 yards left. He hit a provisional. After a prolonged search in the shrubbery, a fortunate break: he discovered his original tee shot. After a punch out to the fairway, Bryson knocked a pitch onto the green and drained the 13-footer for par on the 11th. Phew.
Even par through two holes with a pair of par-5s coming up. Perfect time for the big swinger to settle in, right? Wrong.
After a par on No. 12, DeChambeau headed to the 13th tee. The golf world held its breath. Bryson had boasted of having only a pitching wedge left into the green on the 510-yard par-5 during Monday’s practice round. He’d said on Wednesday that he planned to play Augusta as a par 67, that its par-5s played like par-4s for him.
But the oddity only continued on the 13th. After yanking his drive into the pine straw, DeChambeau hit his approach into the shrubs behind the green, then dunked his provisional into Rae’s Creek. After a short search, he recovered his original shot, took an unplayable and dropped next to the green. If he got up-and-down, he could still save par. Instead, he duffed his chip. Suddenly, Bryson was playing his fifth shot on the hole, and he still hadn’t gotten on the green. Another chip and two putts later, he settled for a double-bogey seven.
DeChambeau would leave the back nine no worse for wear after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16. Still, we’re betting this wasn’t quite how the Vegas favorite pictured his first nine holes at Augusta going.