After making a superb start to the Masters for a second year in succession, Jordan Spieth declared his opening 66 a better effort than the 64 he managed 12 months ago.
Spieth was a wire-to-wire winner at Augusta in 2015 after surging into the lead with an eight-under first round.
However, that performance came on a course softened by rain and with little wind, whereas Spieth defied occasional gusts and firmer ground to hit the top of the leaderboard this time around.
Reflecting on his performance, which featured six birdies and outstanding par saves on the 11th and 16th, Spieth told ESPN: "I got the most out of my round today.
"I think my round this year was even better than my first round last year because of the conditions.
"The wind is gusting and the hardest thing with that is the approach shots and five-foot putts. You just have to stay patient."
Spieth was three clear of the field when he holed a short putt on 18 for his sixth birdie of the day.
World number one Jason Day narrowed the gap thereafter, closing to within one courtesy of a tap-in birdie at the ninth that took the Australian to five under.
However, Day then made his first bogey at the 10th to drop back alongside Ireland's Shane Lowry.