Bryson DeChambeau was the second favourite to win the 2021 Masters, according to the bookies.
But once again the US Open winner was chewed up and spat out by Augusta National, with the big hitter 11 shots behind clubhouse leader Justin Rose after finishing with a four-over 76.
His poor opening round, which included a number of slices of luck, means he will need to likely have to go around in par on Saturday (AEST) to make the cut.
Despite a strong start to 2021, which included winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational and tied-third at The Players Championship, DeChambeau struggled on the narrower fairways and quicker greens of Augusta National.
Yet, he also overshot the green on a number of occasions too.
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He finished the opening round by hitting just 50 per cent of fairways and greens in regulation.
It continued the struggles he experienced five months ago, when golf’s scientist finished in 34th.
Speaking on the Golf Central, former pro Brandel Chamblee said Augusta National simply doesn’t suit DeChambeau’s game, whose best finished was back in 2016 when he was tied-21st as an amateur.
“It’s a square peg in a round hole for him,” Chamblee said.
“He’s linear, this golf course is abstract. I’m going to borrow an analogy and say this golf course fits him about as well as a porcupinein a balloon factory. It’s just not a good fit for him. This is an abstract golf course. Players look like up more here, they scan the horizon, they try to lay themselves to the land and shape their bodies where they need to. He’s rigid and he’s very linear in his thinking.”
Open champion, Justin Leonard, who finished seventh back in 1997, said DeChambeau’s range was out.
“We’re used to seeing Bryson hitting it over bunkers off the tee, hitting over corners, hitting it over trees, well, today, he was hitting it over greens and but it wasn’t with the driver it was with pitching wedges,” Leonard said.
“The fourth green, you cannot hit it over the green because there’s an absolute forest three yards over that green. 12, he flew the ball into the pine, he carried that, fortunately it came back, he made bogey there. And then you heard him say on 18, he pounded the ball past the second bunker. We haven’t seen anyone there in years and then he carries it past the flag even though he’s with a wedge or sand wedge it goes over the green.”
DeChambeau said the practice greens were nothing like the course, with some patches quicker than others.
Only 12 players finished under par in the opening round, with Rose (-7) four shots clear of Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama.
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Marc Leishman is the best of the Aussies after finishing par, while Matt Jones, Adam Scott and Cameron Smith each finished two-over. Jason Day had a forgettable day finishing five-over and described the day as “terrible”.
“I mean, it’s just frustrating,” Day said. “I did absolutely nothing right today, which is unfortunate, so I’ve got to go back to the range, work on some stuff. Go to the putting green, work on that as well.”
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