Keeping Score

Rory McIlroy backs up No. 1 ranking

Northern Irishman shoots 6-under 65 to open 2-stroke lead in WGC Mexico as Chapultepec Golf Club otherwise wins Round 1

65: First-round score for Rory McIlroy, who opened at 6 under for a two-stroke lead Thursday in the WGC Mexico Championship in Mexico City. After starting on the back nine at the 7,835-foot-elevation Chapultepec Golf Club, McIlroy ripped a 4-iron second shot from 275 yards in the thin air at the par-5 11th and holed the 15-foot eagle putt to jump-start his round. Americans Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson were tied at 67. McIlroy, 30, of Northern Ireland, returned to the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking last week. He needed only 26 putts in an efficient round. In his past five starts worldwide, dating to the fall, McIlroy has finished no worse than fifth, with a victory at the WGC HSBC Champions. McIlroy is seeking to join Dustin Johnson, the defending champion after he held off runner-up McIlroy last year, as the only player to have won all four WGC titles. Tiger Woods, who opted not to play this week, holds the record for most WGC victories, with 18. Johnson is second, with six. Chapultepec posed a stern test in Round 1, with only 18 players from the 72-man event breaking par. The field shot a combined 100 over par. Johnson, the 2019 winner, struggled to a 76. The 72.389 scoring average marked the highest of any round in the four years of the WGC event in Mexico City (scores).

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