MEXICO CITY — Rory McIlroy flirted with a hole-in-one on the identical par four on which Tiger Woods hit out of bounds together with his first aggressive shot in Mexico.
That’s about how their days went Thursday within the Mexico Championship.
McIlroy, already off to a strong begin on the again 9, hit a 2-iron on the 305-yard opening gap at Chapultepec Golf Membership that landed on the entrance of the inexperienced and was rolling simply left of the pin when it settled 6 toes away, resulting in an eagle that carried him to an 8-under 63 and a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.
Woods acquired the raucous Mexican introduction for his opening tee shot, a 5-wood that additionally landed on the inexperienced — the improper inexperienced. The ball bounced exhausting off a brief inexperienced to the left and past the out-of-bounds stake into the bushes.
After which he practically did it once more, and finally needed to stand up and down from 60 toes away in a bunker to flee with double bogey.
“I pulled throughout it to try to reduce it and hit it useless off the toe,” Woods mentioned. “Hit each of them useless off the toe.”
After a burst of birdies, he struggled to make a lot the remainder of the way in which and opened with a 71.
McIlroy’s 2-iron was the signature shot in an beautiful begin to this World Golf Championship occasion. He was 6 below via an eight-hole stretch in the course of the spherical, and a 20-foot birdie on No. Eight towards the tip of his spherical is what gave him the lead over Johnson, who performed within the group behind. It was his second straight week with a 63.
“I wouldn’t say it was straightforward,” McIlroy mentioned. “I hit quite a lot of good golf pictures, however I left myself quite a lot of tap-ins for birdies. As 63s go, I shot 63 at Riviera final week, however this felt in all probability slightly extra stress-free.”
He described his 2-iron as near excellent, simply how he envisioned it, slightly reduce to take off far within the skinny air of Mexico Metropolis.
The one blemish on his spherical got here on the par-5 sixth, when he pulled his tee shot into the timber and appeared as if he must punch out again to the golf green. Standing over the ball, McIlroy was wanting up. He noticed a niche between two timber with a tiny limbs, so even when he clipped one, his 8-iron ought to have been sufficient to offer him an affordable shot on the inexperienced.
There was one limb that involved him, which McIlroy described as “one thing a canine would choose up.”
“The one department it couldn’t hit, it hit,” he mentioned. “All of it ranges out on the finish of the day. I’m simply in a very good state of mind, managing my sport nicely, placing went good. And when you putt nicely, it takes stress off the remainder of your sport. And that’s the place it’s at.”
Johnson gained the Mexico Championship two years in the past, a part of three straight victories throughout his greatest stretch of golf ever. He mentioned he struggled together with his swing at Pebble Seashore and at Riviera, and labored all week on the vary in Mexico.
“It’s beginning to really feel the way in which it did two years in the past,” he mentioned.
Justin Thomas, who misplaced in a playoff final yr to Phil Mickelson, chipped in from 50 toes behind the inexperienced on No. 15 for eagle and was at 66. He was tied with Matt Kuchar, who already gained in Mexico as soon as this season on the Mayakoba Traditional.
Mickelson, two weeks faraway from his victory at Pebble Seashore, bogeyed three of his first 4 holes on the again, shot 40 on the entrance and opened with a 79.
Jordan Spieth, together with his father, Shawn, filling in for his common caddie, Michael Greller, whose father died, opened with a 75. Shawn had determined on the final minute to return to the occasion.
“I want I might have completed extra for him,” Jordan Spieth mentioned after finishing his highest opening spherical since america Open final summer season.