Westwood stumbles late, joins Mickelson in six-way tie
Send a link to a friend
[March 03, 2017]
(Reuters) - Lee Westwood spoke
about his "ballistic" ball after bogeying the final two holes to
fall into a share of the lead with Phil Mickelson and four others
after the first round at the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf
Chapultepec in Mexico City on Thursday.
The 43-year-old Englishman led by two strokes before stumbling at
the end, while Mickelson rolled in a 16-footer for birdie at the
last to join him with a four-under 67.
Former world number one Westwood was generally pleased with his
performance, though he was punished a couple of times when his ball
carried further than expected in the thin air more than 2200 metres
(7200 feet) above sea level.
"I played great," Westwood told Golf Channel. "It's a tricky golf
course. It's hard work playing at altitude. Occasionally one just
goes ballistic and you end up in a nightmare of a spot."
Mickelson also spoke about how far he was hitting the ball after his
birdie finish left him atop a leaderboard that also included PGA
Championship winner Jimmy Walker, fellow American Ryan Moore,
Englishman Ross Fisher and young Spaniard Jon Rahm.
The six-way tie for the lead marked a record for a World Golf
Championships stroke play event dating back to the inception of the
series in 1999.
"This is an incredible challenge for all of us," Mickelson said
about the heavily tree-lined course, adding that he could hit a
nine-iron more than 180 yards.
"At sea level I might hit a nine-iron 150 yards. If I need to hit it
a little harder I might be able to get 155 out of it. Let's say I
hit it 170 here, if I want to get a little more out of it, I can get
10-to-15 more yards, I can hit it 180, 185."
Rory McIlroy, in his first competitive round after a six-week layoff
due to a rib injury, was among seven players one shot from the lead.
[to top of second column]
Lee Westwood plays his shot from the seventh tee during the first
round of the WGC - Mexico Championship golf tournament at Club de
Golf Chapultepec. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
"My first full competitive round today and I didn't
feel it at all," world number three McIlroy said about his ribs. The
Northern Irishman was more concerned about an upset stomach that he
said left him feeling a bit weak during the round.
Sweden's British Open champion Henrik Stenson fell foul of the same
condition and withdrew after 11 holes, leaving 76 players in the
elite field that boasted 49 of the top 50 in the world, with only
number two Jason Day (ill) absent.
American Dustin Johnson, making his first start as world number one,
shot 70 despite missing seven putts within seven feet.
"Obviously, I didn't score very well at all, but I played really
well," the long-hitting Johnson said. "I missed so many putts, short
ones. Six of those seven were inside five feet."
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Andrew Both)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten