WGC-Mexico Championship - R1

Rory McIlroy takes lead in Mexico

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February 21-24
Chapultepec GC, Mexico City, Mexico
$10,250,000

Round 2, Round 3, Round 4


Rory McIlroy equalled the lowest opening round of his European Tour career to lead the way after day one of the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The Northern Irishman fired an eagle and seven birdies at Chapultepec Golf Club en route to his fifth first round of 63 and his lowest starting round on the European Tour since 2014.

“It felt pretty stress-free. I wouldn’t say it was easy. I hit a lot of good golf shots, I left myself a lot of tap-ins for birdies and had a nice eagle on the first hole as well.

That left him at eight under, one shot clear of 2015 and 2017 champion Dustin Johnson and three ahead of two more Americans in Matt Kuchar and Justin Thomas.

“I’m just trying to get it in the fairway and get a good number and coming in to these flags,” said Johnson. “The greens are tough, so you kind of want to leave yourself in the right position and today was a good day. I felt like I controlled the ball well. I gave myself a lot of opportunities. Missed a couple short ones, but that’s going to happen around here. I’m very pleased with the round.

“I just think it’s a really good course. Even being at altitude, it’s still a good golf course. Put this in the States and it would be extremely difficult. It plays a little bit easier because it plays shorter with the altitude but I like the golf course. It’s tree lined, it’s tight and if you play well, you can make a lot of birdies.”

South African George Coetzee and Englishman Tyrrell Hatton were then four shots off the lead.

McIlroy has not won on the European Tour since 2016 but has finished second five times since then and was showing the sort of form that has brought him four Major Championships.

“I think for the most part my wedge play was pretty good. I was able to control my distance as well, control trajectories well, but my putting felt great all year, so if I’m excited about anything in my game, it’s the way I’ve putted the last few weeks. 

“Also just my attitude. I’m not putting myself under any pressure, I’ve sort of got things in a really nice perspective. I think that’s probably 80 percent of the reason why I’m playing this good golf over the first few weeks of the year.

“I saw some really good signs last year. I played myself into final groups and had some good chances to win and I think this year is just building upon the good stuff that I was able to do last year.”


Hatton finished a shot out of a play-off here last season and turned in level par with a birdie and a bogey before coming to life on the back nine. He holed from 16 feet on the tenth and sandwiched a beautiful tee-shot to tap in range on the par three 13th with up-and-downs from the sand on the 12th and 15th.

“I’m pretty happy with the score. I have good and bad memories from last year so looking to have a good start and obviously four under is a nice way to start the tournament,” said Hatton. “Hopefully I can continue that way.

“I feel comfortable here. I like how the course kind of suits my eye. If I can hole some putts I should have a good week.”

Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Americans Billy Horschel and David Lipsky, and England’s Ian Poulter were five shots off the lead.


Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
1
Rory McIlroy
NIR
-8
63
2
Dustin Johnson
USA
-7
64
T3
Justin Thomas
USA
-5
66
T3
Matt Kuchar
USA
-5
66
T5
George Coetzee
RSA
-4
67
T5
Tyrrell Hatton
ENG
-4
67
T7
David Lipsky
USA
-3
68
T7
Billy Horschel
USA
-3
68
T7
Ian Poulter
ENG
-3
68
T7
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
THA
-3
68
T11
Xander Schauffele
USA
-2
69
T11
Haotong Li
CHN
-2
69
T11
Patton Kizzire
USA
-2
69
T11
Cameron Smith
AUS
-2
69
T11
Sergio Garcia
ESP
-2
69
T11
Keegan Bradley
USA
-2
69
T11
Charles Howell III
USA
-2
69
T11
Richard Sterne
RSA
-2
69
T19
Aaron Rai
ENG
-1
70
T19
Bubba Watson
USA
-1
70
T19
Tommy Fleetwood
ENG
-1
70
T19
Jake McLeod
AUS
-1
70
T19
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
-1
70
T19
Shane Lowry
IRL
-1
70
T25
Francesco Molinari
ITA
Par
71
T25
Danny Willett
ENG
Par
71
T25
Joost Luiten
NED
Par
71
T25
Gary Woodland
USA
Par
71
T25
Alexander Noren
SWE
Par
71
T25
Branden Grace
RSA
Par
71
T25
Rickie Fowler
USA
Par
71
T25
Abraham Ancer
USA
Par
71
T25
Tiger Woods
USA
Par
71
T25
Paul Casey
ENG
Par
71
T35
Louis Oosthuizen
RSA
1
72
T35
Ryan Fox
NZL
1
72
T35
Thorbjorn Olesen
DEN
1
72
T35
Russell Knox
SCO
1
72
T35
Henrik Stenson
SWE
1
72
T35
Matthew Fitzpatrick
ENG
1
72
T35
Patrick Cantlay
USA
1
72
T35
Hideki Matsuyama
JPN
1
72
T35
Jon Rahm
ESP
1
72
T35
Patrick Reed
USA
1
72
T35
Kevin Na
USA
1
72
T35
Erik Van Rooyen
RSA
1
72
T47
Aaron Wise
USA
2
73
T47
Shugo Imahira
JPN
2
73
T47
Brooks Koepka
USA
2
73
T47
Kevin Kisner
USA
2
73
T47
Lee Westwood
ENG
2
73
T47
Kyle Stanley
USA
2
73
T47
Webb Simpson
USA
2
73
T54
Matthew Millar
AUS
3
74
T54
Matt Wallace
ENG
3
74
T54
Tony Finau
USA
3
74
T54
Tom Lewis
ENG
3
74
T58
Alexander Bjoerk
SWE
4
75
T58
Chez Reavie
USA
4
75
T58
Jordan Spieth
USA
4
75
T58
Satoshi Kodaira
JPN
4
75
T58
Bryson DeChambeau
USA
4
75
T63
Lucas Bjerregaard
DNK
5
76
T63
Emiliano Grillo
ARG
5
76
T63
Rafael Cabrera Bello
ESP
5
76
T66
Adrian Otaegui
ESP
6
77
T66
Byeong-Hun An
KOR
6
77
T66
Eddie Pepperell
ENG
6
77
T66
Marc Leishman
AUS
6
77
T70
Shaun Norris
RSA
8
79
T70
Phil Mickelson
USA
8
79
72
Sang-Hyun Park
KOR
9
80