Rory McIlroy opens up two-shot lead at WGC-Mexico Championship
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 22/02/20 5:09pm
Rory McIlroy continued his impressive run of form to top the leaderboard after the opening round of the WGC-Mexico Championship.
The world No 1, who has posted top-five finishes in his last five worldwide starts, birdied three of his last four holes to post a six-under 65 and open up a two-shot lead at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson are McIlroy's closest challengers after carding matching 67s, with Bryson DeChambeau and Louis Oosthuizen three back in tied-fourth alongside Billy Horschel and Corey Conners.
Starting on the back nine, McIlroy moved ahead by holing a 16-foot eagle at the par-five 11th before getting up and down from off both the 12th and 14th greens to make six-footers to save par.
McIlroy posted a two-putt birdie at the 15th on his way to reaching the turn in 33 and nailed a 12-foot putt from the fringe to regain the outright advantage, only to miss from five feet on his way to bogeying the fourth.
The world No 1 recovered from a wayward approach into the par-five sixth to pitch to 25 feet and post an unlikely birdie, before following a 15-foot gain at the eighth by holing a 10-footer on his final hole to grab the first-round lead for the second year running.
Watson had set the early clubhouse target after finding five birdies in an opening-round 67, with his only blemish coming up after he found water off the seventh tee, with Thomas also on four under after missing a 10-foot birdie opportunity at the last to get within one of McIlroy.
Tyrrell Hatton marked his return from wrist surgery with a two-under 69 to join Lee Westwood, Paul Casey - who eagled the driveable first - and Patrick Reed in the group four off the pace, with Tommy Fleetwood a further stroke back after recovering from bogeying two of his first five holes.
Fleetwood's playing partner Gary Woodland is also on one under, while defending champion Dustin Johnson slipped 11 strokes off the pace following a five-over 76.
Watch the WGC-Mexico Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 5pm on Sky Sports Golf.