McIlroy shakes off Genesis blues for WGC-Mexico lead
Rory McIlroy’s decision to return to his ‘old’ putter saw him brush off any lingering LA putting blues in muscling his way again into contention on day one of the WGC – Mexico Championship in Mexico City.
McIlroy, dressed all in black, stood tall in a no-cut event boasting 72 players from 19 different countries brilliantly birding his closing two holes to grab a two-shot clubhouse lead of 6-under par 65 on the historic Club de Golf Chapultepec course.
Rory McIlroy (Credit: PGA Tour)
American Bubba Watson snatched four birdies in his score of a four-under 67
McIlroy was soaring early in the world’s eighth highest capital city launching a booming 346-yard drive at the par-5 11th and the second hole of his round.
The World No. 1 landed his second to 16-feet right of the cup and rolled-in the eagle putt and almost matching his two eagles on day one a week ago at the Genesis Invitational.
McIlroy picked-off birdies at sixth (15th on the card) and also at his 11th before a dropped shot on 13 before draining a 29-foot ‘bomb’ at his 15th to get back into a share of the lead at 4-under.
He then went to the front at 5-under in the €9.7m event in holing a 14-footer for birdie at his penultimate putt and then finding the bottom of the cup for the fifth birdie of his round at the last.
McIlroy was way in front averaging 354-yards off the tee and reaping the reward in a decision to return his ‘old’ putter paid dividends in posting just 26 putts.
“I held a nice birdie last Sunday at the 72nd to get momentum coming into this week and I decided to change my putter from last week and back to my old putter,” he said.
“I was trying out a new putter last week but it just didn’t work last week, so I am back to my 34-inch putter rather than the 35-inch putter, and just felt more comfortable out there today.”
And McIlroy was reminded that he enjoys a good record at altitude having shot an opening 63 a year ago in Mexico en route to finishing runner-up while he also lost out in a play-off.
McIlroy is seeking to become just the second player, behind defending Mexico champion Dustin Johnson, in landing the ‘WGC Grand Slam’ by winning all four WGC trophies.
He won the second leg of the ‘Slam’ last November in capturing the WGC – HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
“It would be pretty cool to win all four as the WGCs are big events, top players in the world, and I’ve always played pretty well in them,” he said ahead of teeing-up on day one.
“I had a chance in Doral a few years ago, and a couple of chances so to complete the set would be nice.”
“Those Wedgewood trophies look pretty good in the trophy case, so I’d like to add one more there.”
Just 20 players managed to break par on day one while Johnson struggling under the weight of a five-over par 76 and already 10 adrift of McIlroy.
Last week’s hero, Adam Scott, got off to a slow start with three bogeys and a double-bogey leaving him at 3-over and in a share of 49th place.