Rory McIlroy seizes one-shot lead at WGC-Mexico

Thanks to the PGA Tour for freeing Phil Mickelson's sculpted calves

Thanks to the PGA Tour for freeing Phil Mickelson's sculpted calves

He endured two three-putt bogeys on 12 and 13 but regained his composure by rolling in a 15-footer on 17 to end the round in the top-10 of the leaderboard.

Rory McIlroy came within a whisker of a rare hole-in-one at a par-four on Thursday as the Northern Irishman took the first-round lead at the WGC-Mexico Championship with an eight-under-par 63.

"I hope to build on this and keep playing well as I enjoy playing on this golf course", said Kiradech, who finished T5 here previous year and is playing in his first full season on the PGA TOUR.

Starting on the back nine, two-time WGC victor McIlroy picked up shots on the 11th, 12th, 15th and 17th.

It hit the front of the green and threatened the hole, McIlroy eventually making a six-footer for eagle. I hit it quite nicely early on to make those early birdies and kept the ball pretty much in play for most of the round.

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"When you're confident with the flat stick, you're not putting yourself under pressure to hit it closer to the hole", McIlroy said.

"When you can, I try to be aggressive and try get myself some good looks at birdie, but off the tee I can't really be too aggressive".

A two-time champion of the event, Johnson carded a four-under 67 in the second round to move into 11 under - two shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar.

Tiger Woods received a rapturous welcome from fans on the first tee, where he was introduced for his first competitive start in Mexico as "Tiger!" Woods said. "That was different".

"He said my name three times, right?"

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Tiger Woods, who has 18 WGC wins under his belt, had to settle for a level-par 71 to sit tied for 25th with England's Paul Casey and eight others. After his stretch of three straight birdies got him under par, he twice missed par putts from about 4 feet, though he holed a 15-foot par putt on the 17th.

"I was trying to cut it and I pulled it across and hit it dead off the toe", he said of his opening tee shot. "The rest of the holes you've got to kind of just hit it to a certain spot and go from there". The 14-time major victor started his day with a double-bogey and had an up-and-down afternoon with four birdies to go with the double-bogey and two more bogeys.

"I think realistically I could have gotten probably four or five (under par) out of it today", Woods said. "Not just this week, but going forward".

It was a disappointing day for defending champion and recent Pebble Beach victor Phil Mickelson, who sits a shot off bottom spot after an error-strewn 79. One year after edging Thomas in a playoff he opened with an eight-over par 79.

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