Bryson DeChambeau beat his personal par by two shots as a relentless Scottie Scheffler made an ominous start to his bid for a second Masters title.

Almost three and a half years after claiming that Augusta National was a “par 67 for me” due to his prodigious hitting, DeChambeau carded a seven-under-par 65 on a windswept opening day which followed a lengthy weather delay.

But that was only good enough for a one-shot lead over Scheffler, the world number one and 2022 champion posting a bogey-free 66 that left playing partner Rory McIlroy trailing in his wake.

McIlroy, who is making his 10th attempt to win the Masters and complete a career grand slam, made four birdies and three bogeys in his 71, while defending champion Jon Rahm bogeyed the last two holes in a 73.

Former champion Danny Willett posted a superb 68 in his first event since undergoing shoulder surgery in September, the 36-year-old only deciding on Sunday that he was ready to compete in the year’s first major.

DeChambeau birdied his first three holes and bounced back from his only dropped shot of the day on the ninth with a back nine of 31, which included birdies on the 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th.

The 30-year-old’s par-67 comment came two months after he won the 2020 US Open, but left him open to ridicule after he could only manage a best score of 69 and finished 18 shots behind winner Dustin Johnson, now a fellow LIV Golf player.

“Regarding the 67 comment, you know, you mess up, I’m not a perfect person,” DeChambeau admitted. “Everyone messes up.

“You learn from your mistakes and that was definitely one.”

Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson DeChambeau hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the first round of the 88th Masters (George Walker IV/AP)

Asked if his comment actually had merit given his round today, DeChambeau was not about to take the bait.

“You’re trying to pigeonhole me into saying that again, aren’t you?” he said with a smile. “I’m not going to comment on that.

“Sure, if you want to line the math up that way, that is a perspective you can take. It was a perspective I had and it cost me a lot of slack, I guess you could say. It definitely hurt some things.

“But look, I’ll say this again. I shot 65 today and that was one of the best rounds of golf I’ve played in a long time. There’s three more days to go, and I’m not losing sight of that fact.”

Scheffler came into the Masters with form figures of 1-1-2 and the biggest obstacle to a third win in four starts would appear to be his wife Meredith going into labour with their first child.

“People have asked us how our preparation is going for the baby,” Scheffler said.

“The nursery is not quite ready and we’ve had some issues at our house the last few weeks. I think that’s the exciting part. I think we are definitely underprepared to be parents.

“As far as her going into labour, I wouldn’t say I’m very concerned. We haven’t seen any of the early signs.

“But pregnancy is weird. It can happen at any time. Yeah, open lines of communication and she can get a hold of me if she needs to. I’m ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

The delay of two and a half hours meant the first round could not be completed on schedule, with play suspended at 1951 local time due to darkness.

Tiger Woods had completed 13 holes in one under par and will resume his round at 0750 on Friday, with the second round getting under way at 0800.