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Sports

Bryson leads as darkness halts play

Agence France-Presse
Bryson leads as darkness halts play
Bryson DeChambeau

Augusta — Bryson DeChambeau reeled off five birdies in six holes on the back nine Thursday to hold off late-charging world number one Scottie Scheffler for a one-stroke lead at the darkness-halted 88th Masters.

DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open winner, fired a seven-under-par 65 for his lowest major round in relation to par while 2022 Masters winner Scheffler made four birdies in five holes on the back nine at Augusta National.

Denmark’s Nikolai Hojgaard, among 20 first-time Masters starters trying to become the first rookie winner since 1979, birdied his way through “Amen Corner” -- the course’s famed 11th, 12th and 13th holes.

The Dane was two back on 5-under with three holes remaining when play was stopped for darkness after rain delayed Thursday’s start by two and one-half hours.

In all, 27 players, including 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, must finish the first round Friday morning. They include American Max Homa, 4-under through 13 holes, and England’s Tyrrell Hatton, 3-under after 14 holes.

Three adrift in fourth on 68 was England’s Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters winner who birdied three of the last four holes.

Woods, returning to major golf after right ankle surgery last April but still struggling to walk, seeks a 24th consecutive Masters cut to break the record he shares with Gary Player and Fred Couples.

He was 1-under after 13 holes.

Second-ranked Rory McIlroy, a four-time major winner who would complete a career grand slam by winning, fired a 71, his best Masters opening round since 2018.

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