DeChambeau, Koepka look to maintain momentum at the Masters

DeChambeau, Koepka look to maintain momentum at the Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) Bryson DeChambeau swears by science. Brooks

Koepka is all about his routine.

The Americans atop the Masters leaderboard have vastly different

strategies when it comes to golf, but both have figured out

something that works at Augusta National. They each shot a 6-under

66 in the opening round - blazing through the back nine - and will

look to keep that momentum going when they tee off Friday morning.

The 25-year-old DeChambeau charged up the leaderboard on Thursday

by making birdies on six of the final seven holes. His only setback

was a bogey on No. 14.

DeChambeau said improved play with his wedges and irons has made a

major difference in his game. After Thursday's round, he detailed a

marathon 14-hour practice session last week in Dallas where he

tried to figure out the problem. He used terms like ''spin loft

curve'' to describe.

Not everyone understood. But DeChambeau does, and that's really all

that matters. Now he feels like he's ready to contend for the win

in his third Masters appearance.

''I don't know if I'm going to be able to figure out every little

nuance of this golf course in my third year playing,'' DeChambeau

said. ''But what I can do is prepare as good as I can and be

comfortable with my own game in any situation; so that when I get

out here, any situation that arises, I feel I can execute and play

the game that's necessary.''

The 28-year-old Koepka also had an impressive finish on Thursday.

He played a bogey-free round and made five birdies on the back

nine. As usual, his combination of long, straight drives and solid

putting was a formidable mix.

He's already won three majors, including two U.S. Opens and a PGA

Championship. Now it looks like he's ready to contend at the

Masters after missing last year's tournament because of a wrist

injury.

''I keep pretty much the same routine for all the majors,'' Koepka

said. ''It's very simple. There's no added stress during the week.

It's pretty much the same people that are staying with me.''

Plenty of big names are chasing DeChambeau and Koepka. Three-time

Masters winner Phil Mickelson is one shot back after shooting a 67.

The 48-year-old was at even par through 11 holes on Thursday before

closing with five birdies on the final seven holes.

Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson are two shots back. Adam Scott and

Jon Rahm are in a group that's three back. Tiger Woods begins the

day four shots back after shooting a 70.

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04-11-2019 23:28:14

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