McIlroy lurks, Scott struggling in Mexico

Posted March 04, 2017

While Henrik Stenson could only get through 11 holes of his opening round at the WGC-Mexico Championship before withdrawing because of a stomach virus, Rory McIlroy, reportedly also under the weather, gutted out a 3-under 68 Thursday at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City.

A birdie at the first looked to set the tone for a good day but he gave the shot straight back at the next then birdied the thirds to get back into red figures. A par at 14 the seemed to spark Scott into life and he picked up successive shots at 15 and 16 but undid all the hard work with consecutive bogeys to finish.

Mickelson hit one 379 yards, his longest in recent years without hitting a cart path. Dustin Johnson, in his debut at No. 1 in the world, hit 3-wood on the 316-yard first hole and the ball bounded over the green, into the hedges and out of bounds.

It was an impressive return for McIlroy, who was suffering from an illness that he said had him up for most of the night and "praying to the porcelain bowl".

"That's been the most fun challenge", added Mickelson, who was tied with compatriots Jimmy Walker and Ryan Moore, Spain's Jon Rahm and England's Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood. "I missed so many putts, short ones". He even sank an eagle on the sixth hole.

"How I've responded the last couple of weeks, ramping up the practice and then playing my first full competitive round today, I didn't feel it at all so all positive in that regard".

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McIlroy is keen to continue playing at the WGC-Mexico Championship and was hoping the food poisoning was just a day thing.

Mickelson has had just one top 10 since his runner-up finish in the British Open last season, a tie for eighth at the Safeway Open late in 2016.

"Obviously, I didn't score very well at all, but I played really well", the long-hitting Johnson said. It's a pleasure to play a golf course where your caddie doesn't hand you the driver walking off the previous green.

The 27-year-old Wie, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the US Open in 2014, shot a 6-under 66 at the new Tanjong course.

"I don't really want to tell you what I'm feeling right now", said McIlroy with only half a smile. "I would say my focus was on just trying to get ready for this event and play here".

The four-time Major victor then drove into a greenside bunker on the short par-four first and got up and down for birdie to reach two under par, while Johnson ran up a double bogey after hitting his tee shot out of bounds.