Major monster Koepka shares first-round lead at Masters

Brooks Koepka. (Reuters pic)

AUGUSTA: Brooks Koepka, who has won two of the last three majors, held a share of the first-round Masters lead with Bryson DeChambeau while three-times champion Phil Mickelson was one shot off the pace on Thursday.

Koepka, who missed last year’s Masters with a wrist injury, used a combination of jaw-dropping power and laser-like irons to card a six-under-par 66 to sit atop the leaderboard with Bryson DeChambeau, who came within inches of a closing eagle.

American Koepka, who does not have a top-10 finish in three starts at the Masters, enjoyed a four-hole birdie run from the 12th to pull ahead but had to settle for a share of the lead after DeChambeau closed with four consecutive birdies.

DeChambeau, who was playing two groups ahead of Koepka and nearly aced the par-three 16th, almost walked into the clubhouse with the outright lead but his approach at the 18th rammed into the flagstick and settled inches away for a tap-in birdie.