In almost any other Masters round, Jason Day would have been the talking point.
But even after his own breath-taking five-birdie run that set up a first-round 67, Day was moved to marvel at Jordan Spieth’s stellar 64.
The Queenslander was locked in a four-way tie for second with Charley Hoffman and major championship winners Ernie Els and Justin Rose at five under, three behind Spieth after an opening-round birdie-fest.
“It felt like it played pretty tough out there, but to shoot eight under is an impressive score,” Day said of the in-form Texan.
But after a conservative start of seven straight pars, the 27-year-old Aussie was also justifiably proud of his own magical run.
Birdies at the 8th and 9th were slightly undone by a bogey on the 11th, but it sparked an incredible five-birdie barrage, capped by almost holing out on the par-3 16th.
The streak took him briefly to six under and outright second, but a blocked drive on the 17th ultimately cost him a bogey.
Another driving error on 18th was mitigated by a superb up and down from behind the severely sloping green so he left the course on the right note.
“It was tough because today I didn’t feel my swing was timing quite right and it showed on the par-5 15th when I hooked one to the left (off the tee) and then struggled with driver coming in,” the world No.5 said.
“But to be able to grind myself out and get the score I did, I’m pretty proud of it.”
It capped a largely encouraging opening round for the Australian contingent.
John Senden continued his remarkably consistent Augusta National form to be one under, a year after he shocked many — but not himself — in finishing tied eighth in the year’s first major.
The 2013 champ Adam Scott made a two-putt bogey up the last after hopping between fairway traps in a nice summation of his even-par round of 72.
Geoff Ogilvy will rue some missed short putts after signing for a 74 that included four birdies.
But three putts from inside 1.5m on the 16th after one of the round’s best tee shots was sadly a sign of his frustration.
Amateur Antonio Murdaca made a couple of birdies himself, but mixed in four double-bogeys to card a 78.
It left the South Australian four shots behind leading amateur, American Byron Meth, after his opening 74.