Oosthuizen grabs first-round lead at WGC Mexico Championship

Sheri Evans
March 4, 2018

That secured his World Golf Championship debut in Mexico City via the top 10 on the European Tour's Race to Dubai and the 31-year-old from Hexham made the most of his opportunity in an elite 64-man field competing for a winner's cheque of $1.2million from a prize fund of $7.2million.

Key to his success was an eagle at the par-five 15th hole as he took command of the first of the four WGC events this year. He leads a young trio of Shubhankar Sharma, Chris Paisley and Xander Schauffele by one shot on six under.

Among a group one back at six under is reigning Tour Championship victor Xander Schauffele, who also went bogey-free.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson opened with a 69.

Instead, Thursday at Chapultepec Golf Club delivered a mixed bag of compelling, if not little-known, players and just as many out-of-character performances.

Jon Rahm birdied the last to complete a four-under 67, while one-time leader Bubba Watson slipped in to the group on two under after three bogeys and a double-bogey over his final seven holes. "The way I hit it, I probably should not have shot 2 under".

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"I was delighted with the score, and obviously it's the biggest tournament I've played in by a long stretch", said Paisley, who finished first, fifth and fifth in his first three starts on the European Tour this year.

World Super 6 Perth victor Kiradech Aphibarnrat shares sixth place alongside Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain while countryman Jon Rahm is alone in 7th place at 4-under. "I'm hitting it well, just need to do the same tomorrow".

Sharma, who like Paisley is making his first Tour start and at this point a year ago was plying his trade on the Asian Tour, had no such problems with his swing or Chapultepec and was a ideal 6-for-6 in scrambling on his way to a 65.

Paisley won the South African Open in January - his first European Tour victory - and followed up with consecutive top-five finishes against strong worldwide fields in the Middle East.

Oosthuizen is a well known name on the PGA Tour, but he only owns one tour win at the Open Championship in 2010.

The billboards around Chapultepec understandably include the likes of Johnson, Spieth, Fowler and Thomas.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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