2017 World Golf Championships–Mexico Championship
(The 16th of 43 events in the PGA TOUR Season)
Mexico City, Mexico                              March 2 – 5, 2017                                                
Purse: $9,750,000
Club de Golf Chapultepec                                                                                
Par/Yards: 71/7,330
First-Round Notes – Thursday, March 02, 2017
Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 75. Wind NE at 8-20 mph.
First-Round Leaderboard
T1        Phil Mickelson             67 (-4)
            Ross Fisher
            Jimmy Walker
            Jon Rahm
            Lee Westwood
            Ryan Moore
T7        Seven players tied      68 (-3)
First-Round Leader Stats
The first-round lead of 4-under 67 shared by six players is tied for the highest first-round score in relation to par in the history of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, matching Patrick Reed’s opening score of 4-under 68 in 2014.
This is the first time six players have been tied for the lead after the first round of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. Previously, five were tied after 18 holes in 2015.
The last time six players were tied for the lead after the first round on the PGA TOUR was the 2015 Genesis Open. The same took place three months earlier at the 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba. The most ever tied for the lead through 18 holes on the PGA TOUR was nine at the 2011 Genesis Open.
Since 1999, the 18-hole leader/co-leader has converted the victory at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship six times: Tiger Woods (2002, 2006, 2013), Geoff Ogilvy (2008), Phil Mickelson (2009) and Patrick Reed (2014).
Through 15 events on the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, only four players have managed to parlay that position into a win. Most recently, Justin Thomas did so at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
After 18 holes last year, Marcus Fraser and Scott Piercy were tied at the top at 6-under 66. Fraser and Piercy finished 60th and T17, respectively.
Phil Mickelson
Mickelson, a two-time World Golf Championships winner (2009 Mexico Championship, HSBC Champions) is looking to claim a third after a birdie on his final hole of the day led to a 67 and tie for the lead. Mickelson erased back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5 with six birdies on the day.
This is Mickelson’s 15th start in the Mexico Championship, where he owns two other top-five finishes to go along with his victory in 2009. Mickelson also held a share of the 18-hole lead in 2009 en route to his win.
Mickelson, 46, is the oldest player in the field this week. Ernie Els, aged 40 years, 4 months, 25 days in 2010, is the oldest winner of the Mexico Championship.
Mickelson has proven his mettle on high altitude golf courses with his win at the 1990 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills GC, as well as the 1993 and 1997 International at Castle Pines GC in Denver, which are located approximately 5,300 and 6,300 feet above sea level, respectively. This week, Club de Golf Chapultepec is located at 7,800 feet above sea level.
The 42-time PGA TOUR winner is searching for his first win on the PGA TOUR since the 2013 Open Championship.
This is Mickelson’s 27th 18-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. He has converted the victory on nine occasions. Most recently, he did so at the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he lipped out a birdie putt on his final hole for a 59.
Ross Fisher
England’s Ross Fisher finished his first round with a birdie on the par-4 18th to shoot a 67 and grab a share of the lead. Fisher’s only dropped shot of the day came at the par-4 ninth.
Fisher is making his 15th start in a World Golf Championships event. In the 2009 Dell Technologies Match Play, Fisher advanced to the semifinals where he was beaten by fellow countryman Paul Casey 2 and 1 before falling in the consolation match to Stewart Cink 1-up. In stroke play, his best finish is a T3 at the 2015 HSBC Champions.
Fisher owns five wins on the European Tour (2007 KLM Open, 2008 European Open, 2009 Volvo World Match Play Championship, 2010 3 Irish Open, 2014 Tshwane Open).
This is Fisher’s second 18-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. At the 2013 Wyndham Championship, Fisher held a share of the lead en route to a T52 finish.
Jimmy Walker
Making his fourth start in the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, reigning PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker at one point held the outright lead before bogeys on two of his last three holes dropped him to a 67.
In eight starts during the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, Walker has one top-10 finish – a T9 showing at the SBS Tournament of Champions.
Walker is a six-time winner on the PGA TOUR but has yet to claim one of the four annual World Golf Championships events. His best finish in 12 previous starts is a solo sixth at the 2016 Mexico Championship.
This is Walker’s fourth 18-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. Walker converted the victory on one occasion in his most recent victory at the 2016 PGA Championship.
Jon Rahm
PGA TOUR Rookie Jon Rahm continued his stellar play this season with a 67 to open the Mexico Championship.
Rahm is one of six players making their World Golf Championships debut this week. The 22-year-old Spaniard qualified for the Mexico Championship by virtue of being inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of Feb. 20.
In his fifth start of his rookie season, Rahm carded a 65 in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open to win his first career PGA TOUR title by three shots. The win was capped by a lengthy eagle putt from the back fringe on the par-5 18th hole.
In addition to Rahm’s win in San Diego, the Arizona State product added another strong finish on the west coast two weeks later with a T5 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
This is Rahm’s second 18-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. At the 2016 Quicken Loans National, Rahm held the solo lead at Congressional Country Club on his way to a T3 finish.
Lee Westwood
Making his 56th start in a World Golf Championships event this week – an all-time record – Lee Westwood shot a 4-under 67
In 55 previous starts in a World Golf Championships event, Westwood’s best finish is a solo second at both the 2000 Mexico Championship and 2010 HSBC Champions.
Westwood qualified for the Mexico Championship by finishing inside the top 20 (13th) of the final 2016 European Tour Race to Dubai Standings.
A two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Westwood now competes solely on the European Tour, where he has compiled 23 wins to go along with 16 other international victories over the course of his veteran career.
This is Westwood’s fourth 18-hole lead/co-lead in his 222nd start on the PGA TOUR. He converted the victory after holding a one-stroke lead through round one at the 2010 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Ryan Moore
After a slow start that included two bogeys in his first four holes, Ryan Moore responded with four birdies in a span of five holes on his second nine to on his way to an opening 67.
Moore his making his seventh start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, with a T3 at the SBS Tournament of Champions his lone top-10 showing.
Moore is a five-time winner on the PGA TOUR, with his most recent title coming at the 2016 John Deere Classic. Moore nearly captured his second win of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR Season at the TOUR Championship, where the former U.S. Amateur champion battled Rory McIlroy in a four-hole playoff at East Lake GC.
Moore is making his 20th World Golf Championships appearance this week, with a solo third at the 2009 HSBC Champions representing his best finish in stroke play. Moore has also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play on two occasions (2011, 2016).
This is Moore’s seventh 18-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. He has converted the victory on two occasions. Most recently, he did so at the 2013 CIMB Classic after opening with a 63.
Miscellaneous Notes
Mexico’s Roberto Diaz carded back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 to offset two bogeys en route to an even-par 71 and T28 standing after round one. Diaz secured his exemption into the Mexico Championship by finishing as the top-ranked Mexican player in the world (No. 472) at the conclusion of the Web.com Tour’s Panama Claro Championship.
Entering the Club Colombia Championship the week prior to Panama, Diaz trailed Rodolfo Cazaubon in the OWGR and moved ahead with a runner-up finish after losing in a playoff. He wound up in a playoff when eventual winner Ethan Tracy holed out from 101 yards on the 72nd hole for eagle to force overtime.
Diaz played Club de Golf Chapultepec in 2014 in a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event (8 Abierto Mexicano de Golf) and carded 75-64-74-71—284 (4-under) to finish T36. He is making his fourth appearance in a PGA TOUR event this week (2014, 2015, 2017 OHL Classic at Mayakoba).
In his first start back from a rib injury, Rory McIlroy shot a 3-under 68 that included an eagle on the 615-yard par-5 sixth. The world No. 3 is T7 after round one.
Playing his first competitive round as world No. 1, Dustin Johnson overcame a double bogey-6 on the par-4 first – his 10th hole of the day – to post a 1-under 70 at T20.
FedExCup Points leader Hideki Matsuyama carded a 1-over 72 and is T41.
There are five past champions in the field this week:
Player (year won)                                                   R1 Standing
Adam Scott (2016)                                                   T47
Dustin Johnson (2015)                                            T20
Patrick Reed (2014)                                                 T28
Justin Rose (2012)                                          T20                                                        
Phil Mickelson (2009)                                              T1
Twenty-two countries are represented at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship this week with the United States leading the way with 27 players in the field. England is represented by 10 players with Australia and South Africa each having five players competing.
There are 14 players making their first start in the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship: Sam Brazel, Kevin Chappell, Roberto Diaz, Matthew Griffin, Tyrrell Hatton, Mackenzie Hughes, Si Woo Kim, William McGirt, Thomas Pieters, Jon Rahm, Brendan Steele, Brandon Stone, Jeunghun Wang and Fabrizio Zanotti.
Of the 14 first-timers, six players are making their World Golf Championships debut this week: Sam Brazel, Roberto Diaz, Matthew Griffin, Mackenzie Hughes, Jon Rahm and Brandon Stone.
The World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship is now the second PGA TOUR event staged in Mexico during the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season. Pat Perez won the 2016 OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November for his second PGA TOUR victory. Perez is in the field this week in Mexico City by virtue of being inside the top 10 in the FedExCup standings through last week’s The Honda Classic. Perez is T7 after round one after shooting a 3-under 68.
Henrik Stenson withdrew after 11 holes of his first round due to a stomach virus.
Bogey-free rounds:
R1: Pat Perez (68), Sergio Garcia (68), Rickie Fowler (69).
Scoring Average
               Front 9          Back 9             Total             Cumulative
R1          35.618          36.026             71.645