Golf: Kiwi Ryan Fox makes hot start at prestigious US Masters

New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox stuttered late in his opening round at the US Masters to sit four shots behind early leader Bryson DeChambeau at Augusta.

Fox, 37, made a sizzling start to the year's first major on Friday morning (NZT), powering to a two-stroke lead after his first nine holes in Augusta after rain had delayed the start to play by two hours.

However, two dropped shots on his back nine saw him close on three-under 69, leaving him in a share of third in the clubhouse with much of the field still to complete their rounds.

Ryan Fox in action during his first round.
Ryan Fox in action during his first round. Photo credit: Getty Images

Fox's exceptional start featured birdies on each of the first three holes, followed by a brilliant eagle on the par-five eighth hole to go to five-under.

However, he didn't pick up another shot for the reminder of his round, shooting bogeys on the par-five 13th hole and the par-three 16th.

Upon completion, Fox was four behind the American big-hitter and one behind Englishman Danny Willett, who had both completed their opening rounds.

He was level with seven others, including world No. 1 and tournament favourite Scottie Scheffler of the United States.

LIV Tour player DeChambeau was the standout performer, carding eight birdies, including five in the space of six holes on his back nine.

The first round nevertheless represents a remarkable reversal of form for Fox, whose world ranking has dropped to 54th in recent weeks, following a string of modest returns on the US PGA Tour.