2017 World Golf Championships–Mexico Championship Round Two

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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
Second-Round Notes – Friday, March 3, 2017
Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 72. Wind N at 10-18 mph.
Second-Round Leaderboard
1          Rory McIlroy               68-65—133 (-9)
T2        Phil Mickelson            67-68—135 (-7)
            Ross Fisher                 67-68—135 (-7)
            Justin Thomas            69-66—135 (-7)
T5        Andy Sullivan              71-65—136 (-6)
            Daniel Berger              70-66—136 (-6)
            Dustin Johnson           70-66—136 (-6)
Second-Round Leader Stats
Since 1999, the 36-hole leader/co-leader has converted the victory at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship 12 times with the most recent last year (Adam Scott).
Through 15 events on the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, nine players have managed to parlay a second-round lead into a win. Most recently, Dustin Johnson did so at the Genesis Open.
Rory McIlroy – 68-65—133 (-9), 1st
Returning from a rib injury and playing for the first time since Jan. 15, Rory McIlroy matched the low round of the day with a 6-under-par 65 to hold a two-stroke lead over Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas and Ross Fisher after 36 holes at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. McIlroy’s lead could have been larger but missed putts from 4 feet and 3 feet on the final two holes, which resulted in a bogey-par finish.
The 2016 FedExCup champion and four-time major champion is seeking his third World Golf Championships title having already won the 2014 Bridgestone Invitational and the 2015 Dell Technologies Match Play. McIlroy is trying to join Tiger Woods (18), Dustin Johnson (3) and Geoff Ogilvy (3) as the only players with three or more wins in World Golf Championships events.
This is the eighth time on the PGA TOUR that McIlroy has led or shared the lead through 36 holes. He has converted four of those 36-hole leads into victories including his last two at the 2014 PGA Championship and the 2014 Open Championship.
McIlroy finished T3 at last year’s Mexico Championship after holding a three-stroke lead over Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson heading into the final round. He was also third in 2012.
McIlroy’s previous seven starts in World Golf Championships events –
Year    Tournament                                                                                 Finish
2016    World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions                            T4
2016    World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play         4
2016    World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship                     T3
2015    World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions                            T11
2015    World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play         1
2015    World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship                     T9
2014    World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions                            T6
2014    World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational                    1
McIlroy is looking to pick up where he left off at the end of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season at last year’s TOUR Championship where he was a part of one of the most dramatic finishes to the season-ending event in recent memory. In a drama-filled final round, McIlroy holed out for eagle from 137 yards on No. 16 to move to 11-under and one stroke behind leader Kevin Chappell. A victory meant McIlroy would take home the FedExCup, while a second-place finish put the FedExCup in Dustin Johnson’s hands. A final-hole birdie in regulation moved him to 12-under and forced a three-way playoff with Chappell and Ryan Moore. With Chappell bowing out of the playoff, Moore and McIlroy required a fourth extra hole, the 16th, where he had holed out earlier in the day. After Moore had saved par with a putt from 17 feet, McIlroy drilled his birdie putt from 15 feet to claim both the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup title for his 13th PGA TOUR win and his 22nd victory worldwide.
Phil Mickelson – 67-68—135 (-7), T2
Phil Mickelson, a two-time World Golf Championships winner (2009 Mexico Championship, HSBC Champions) is in contention for a third after opening rounds of 67-68 has the 42-time PGA TOUR winner in a tie for second and two shots off the lead through 36 holes. Mickelson spent a majority of his round with his brother, Tim, serving as his caddie due to his normal caddie, Jim “Bones” MacKay having to relinquish his caddie duties due to illness after the fourth hole of the second round.
Mickelson is trying to join Tiger Woods (18), Dustin Johnson (3) and Geoff Ogilvy (3) as the only players with three or more wins in World Golf Championships events.
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 held the 36-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.
Mickelson is searching for his first win on the PGA TOUR since the 2013 Open Championship.
Ross Fisher 67-68—135 (-7), T2
England’s Ross Fisher is tied for second with Phil Mickelson, two strokes off the pace of Rory McIlroy.
Fisher qualified for the Mexico Championship due to his finish in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings. He was the final qualifier from this category by finishing at No. 20 in the season-ending standings. Fisher is looking to join Justin Rose as the only Europeans to win the Mexico Championship since it began in 1999.
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).
Justin Thomas 69-66—135 (-7), T2
Already a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR in the 2016-2017 season, Justin Thomas is poised to capture his fourth after rounds of 69-66 have him two off the second-round lead.
Thomas’ first win of the season came as he defended the CIMB Classic title he claimed in 2015 in Malaysia. He added the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua to his resume before winning the following week, at the Sony Open in Hawaii after opening the tournament with an 11-under 59 at the par-70 Waialae CC.
Thomas was T35 at last year’s Mexico Championship, his only previous appearance in this event. This is Thomas’ sixth start in a World Golf Championships event with a T23 at this season’s HSBC Champions his best showing.
Thomas lies 70 points back of leader Hideki Matsuyama in second place in the FedExCup standings.
Dustin Johnson 70-66—136 (-6), T4
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 6-under-par 66 and is tied with three other players at 6-under-par thru 36 holes, three strokes off the lead. Johnson, who won in his last start with a five-stroke victory at the Genesis Open, is looking to join Tiger Woods as the only player with four or more World Golf Championships victories.
Johnson is a three-time World Golf Championships winner with victories at the HSBC Champions (2013), the Mexico Championship (2015) and the Bridgestone Invitational (2016). He joins Tiger Woods (18) and Geoff Ogilvy (3) as one of three players with three or more World Golf Championships victories.
Johnson (13/2008-present) has at least one win in each of his first ten seasons on the PGA TOUR (the best current streak) and joins Arnold Palmer (17/1955-1971), Jack Nicklaus (17/1962-1978) and Tiger Woods (14/1996-2009) as the only players since 1960 to achieve this feat.
Last season, Johnson claimed the Jack Nicklaus Trophy as PGA TOUR Player of the Year. He also took home the Byron Nelson Award for Adjusted Scoring Average (69.172) and the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR’s leading money-winner ($9,365,185).
Johnson has three top-10 finishes in Mexico Championship tournament history – 2nd/2011, T4/2014 and 1st/2015.
Miscellaneous Notes
After an encouraging opening round of even-par, Mexico’s Roberto Diaz carded a disappointing 5-over-par 76 in round two, putting him in a tie for 60th after 36 holes. 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).
There are five past champions in the field this week:
Player (year won)                                                   R2 Standing
Adam Scott (2016)                                                   T68
Dustin Johnson (2015)                                            T5
Patrick Reed (2014)                                                 T60
Justin Rose (2012)                                                  T36                           
Phil Mickelson (2009)                                              T2
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 T19 after round two.
Bogey-free rounds:
R1: Pat Perez (68), Sergio Garcia (68), Rickie Fowler (69).
R2: None
Scoring Average
               Front 9          Back 9             Total             Cumulative
R1          35.618          36.026             71.645                                                   –
R2          35.526          35.316             70.842          71.243

 

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