Round 1 of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship produced a log-jam at the top of the leaderboard. Round 2 will begin with six players tied for first (4-under 67), seven players just a shot behind, and six players two shots behind.
The Round 1 leaders are Ross Fisher, Jimmy Walker, Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, and Ryan Moore. But all eyes may be on Rory McIlroy this week because he’s returning from a rib injury and has a chance to take the No. 1 world ranking back with a victory.
Battling a stomach issue, McIlroy’s play certainly didn’t reflect it as he shot a 3-under 68. He even sank an eagle on the sixth hole. McIlroy commented on his performance and stomach bug, saying:
I’ve waited long enough to play. I wanted to get out here and be competitive and try to shoot a good score. I don’t feel anywhere near as bad as I did in China last year when I had the same thing. So hopefully, it’s just a day thing and it will pass.”
Unfortunately for reigning Open Championship winner, Henrik Stenson, his own stomach virus forced him to withdraw after playing 11 holes.
The other key challenge the players are facing is the Club de Golf Chapultepec course, which has an altitude of 7,800 feet. Mickelson commented, “Even though the golf course doesn’t play long because of the altitude, it is challenging in many other respects with the precision of the irons, the small targets that the greens present and the speed and undulation of the greens.
Lee Westwood, who birdied eight of the holes, said, “It’s a great golf course. You’ve got to be really patient. It’s a pleasure to play a golf course where your caddie doesn’t hand you the driver walking off the previous green. You’ve got to put in a bit of thought on this golf course.”
Current No. 1 Dustin Johnson had a less than desirable first round, missing six putts from six feet and in. But he’s still very much within striking distance at one-under and said, “The greens are a little tricky. I felt like I hit the ball really well, though. I scored poorly. I missed five putts inside four, five feet. That’s the difference between playing a really good round and just playing an okay round.”
With almost all of the Top 50 players in the world competing in the tournament, it will be interesting to see who emerges from Round 2 as the leader. Jason Day withdrew earlier in the week with a double ear infection and the flu, and now Henrick Stenson is out too.
Don’t miss this punch-and-run from Justin Thomas on the fourth!