World No.4 Jordan Spieth has continued his hot form and surged into the lead after the opening round of the US Masters at Augusta National, but Australian Jason Day is among those chasing hard in second place.
Spieth flirted with major championship greatness for a time, and while he failed to match a record 63, he was only one shot worse, and his eight-under-par 64 gave him a three-shot buffer at the top.
World No.5 Day was within two as he rode a birdie blitz on the back nine, dropping five in a row from holes 12 to 16, but a penultimate bogey left him with a five-under 67.
Major winners Justin Rose and Ernie Els and unheralded American Charley Hoffman joined Day in the clubhouse with 67s of their own.
American Russell Henley and Spain’s Sergio Garcia share sixth place at four under.
Spieth has been brilliant of late, claiming victory in Tampa in mid-March and going into the event with back-to-back runner-up finishes in Texas.
On the biggest stage, the 21-year-old kept his foot on the floor on Thursday, continuing from his runner-up finish last year with nine birdies and just one bogey.
The Australian Open champion flirted with an ultra-special round when he had it to eight under through 14 holes, getting people talking of a major championship record 62, but a bogey on 15 stalled his charge towards history.
He still birdied the last to put an exclamation point on his round.
Day opened his round with seven straight pars before back-to-back birdies on eight and nine had him two under at the turn.
A bogey on the 11th could have derailed his charge but the 27-year-old saw Spieth’s move and put his own hammer down, making his five-birdie run.
He put in a 10-footer on the 12th, just missed a long eagle attempt on 13, dropped eight-footers on 14 and 15 and then almost aced the par-three 16th with his eight-iron.
An errant tee shot on the 17th left him punching into a greenside bunker, where he was unable to get up and down to drop a shot late.
John Senden is the next-best Australian at one under in a tie for 18th, while 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott shot an even-par 72 to be 31st.
World No.1 Rory McIlroy shot 71 and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods marked his comeback with a 73 to be tied 41st.
Geoff Ogilvy (74) and Antonio Murdaca (78) round out the Australian tilt.