WWT Championship at Mayakoba: Will Gordon holds one-shot lead after nine-under round
Will Gordon made a fine start to the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba with a nine-under-par round; he leads Russell Henley by one shot heading into day two; Franciso Molinari and Scottie Scheffler are among the chasing pack
Last Updated: 04/11/22 4:02pm
Will Gordon finished with a nine-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Russell Henley in the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.
Gordon had to go back to the Korn Ferry Tour last year to regain his PGA Tour card and thought he was off to a reasonable start in the new season by making every cut, and then he was five shots behind going into the final round in Bermuda last week.
Yet he played the final four holes in four-over par and tied for 35th at the event. Running off four straight birdies to start the back nine on the El Camaleon course help him into the lead after the first day in Mexico though.
"I just had an up-and-down week in Bermuda," Gordon said. "I played some really good golf for probably 68 holes and had a rough finish.
"I didn't have many expectations coming into this week. It's just really about managing my expectations and my emotions, so I feel like I did a good job of that today."
Harris English took another step back in his recovery from hip surgery and was at 64, part of a group which included former Open champion Francesco Molinari. Also seeing positive signs was Masters champion Scottie Scheffler.
Without the No 1 ranking next to his name for the first time since March, Scheffler hit plenty of iron shots close and converted them into a 65. Also at 65 was two-time defending champion Viktor Hovland, who played alongside Scheffler in a balmy and occasionally breezy day in this Mexican resort.
The field is strong for this time of the year on the PGA Tour, especially with the addition of Scheffler and two-time major champion Collin Morikawa (71), along with Hovland, going for his third straight win at Mayakoba.
English capped off a two-win year in 2021 by making a solid Ryder Cup debut. But then he had surgery on his hip, which had been nagging him for years. After five months away, he returned at the Memorial and it has been slow going.
"It's definitely getting better," English said. "I went through a lot of rehab. But your expectations for coming back are so much higher than they should be.
"I'm so competitive and I want to be the mix so badly. You've got to give yourself time to heal and time to get your game back, but I love it here. I love the atmosphere; I'm excited about the next few days."
Scheffler soared to No 1 in the world when he won four times in six starts, capped off by the Masters. He lost in a playoff at the Colonial and had a good shot at winning the FedEx Cup until he failed to convert on the final hole.
But his game feels a long way from April, and Scheffler is playing three out of four weeks in the autumn to try to build some momentum. The biggest takeaway from Thursday was carding a round without bogeys.
"A clean card is nice," Scheffler said. "I kept the ball in play for the most part today. Solid golf is fun - stress free."
Work remains for Morikawa, who has won six times including two majors in his three years on tour. He is running out of time to get a win in 2022, however.
Tony Finau was headed in that direction. He took a triple bogey on his second hole by twice hitting into the hazard. He bogeyed the par-5 fifth. But he turned it around with six birdies the rest of the way and salvaged a 68.