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WGC-Mexico Championship 2018: Louis Oosthuizen Holds 1-Shot Lead After Round 1

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 2, 2018

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - MARCH 01:   Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa plays his shot from the second tee during the first round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on March 1, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The PGA Tour kicked off its event in Mexico City on Thursday as Louis Oosthuizen took a one-shot lead at seven under par after the opening round at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship.

This is only Oosthuizen's second PGA event of the season. He finished 24th at last week's Honda Classic, though he also got off to a strong start in that tournament with a first-round 67. 

Joining Oosthuizen on the leaderboard are Chris Paisley, Shubhankar Sharma and Xander Schauffele, who are in a three-way tie for second place at six under par.

                 

2018 WGC-Mexico Championship Leaderboard

1. Louis Oosthuizen (-7)

T2. Chris Paisley (-6)

T2. Xander Schauffele (-6)

T2. Shubhankar Sharma (-6)

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T5. Rafa Cabrera Bello (-5)

T5. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-5)

7. Jon Rahm (-4)

T8. Pat Perez (-3)

T8. Sergio Garcia (-3)

T8. Tony Finau (-3)

T8. Brian Harman (-3)

T8. Rickie Fowler (-3)

Full leaderboard at PGATour.com

                

Oosthuizen was on point Thursday, with five birdies, one eagle and no bogeys. His short game worked wonders, helping him gain 3.72 strokes. 

This season has been slow to start for Oosthuizen. He missed the cut at the Dubai Desert Classic in January, extending his winless streak to two full years dating back to the 2016 ISPS Handa Perth International. 

While Oosthuizen is a veteran of the PGA and European Tours, Paisley is making his first career start on the PGA Tour. The 31-year-old is well-traveled in 2018, per the Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard:

Rex Hoggard @RexHoggardGC

Chris Paisley now T-1 @ WGC. He’s playing his 5th event this yr. on his 4th different continent & his 1st Tour event. So, you know, eventful.

Paisley's only big mistake was a bogey on No. 16 that knocked him out of a tie for the lead. He's had success already this season—he won the European Tour's BMW SA Open in January—so transitioning to the PGA Tour isn't likely to faze him.

After his round, Paisley noted on Twitter there was one thing he struggled to figure out:

Chris Paisley @ChrisPaisley86

Delighted with my start! Game felt great but my word it’s hard to pick the right club with this altitude 😱 https://t.co/RW2V1Vpb9R

Dustin Johnson was not the model of consistency that Oosthuizen and Paisley were, though he didn't knock himself out of contention with a two-under 69 after 18 holes. 

Starting on the back nine, Johnson had a six-hole run from Nos. 12 through 17 that was golf's version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

DJ's last 6 holes ... Birdie Birdie Double bogey Birdie Bogey Birdie That's golf. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ https://t.co/gb9bFlJqzz

The 17th hole saw Johnson come within four inches of an ace with this perfect shot on the par three:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Spin-spin-spin-spin-spin-spin-SPIN! 🎯 @DJohnsonPGA nearly brought the house down here. #QuickHits https://t.co/FRuAQq7Mo2

There's a marquee group at two under par with Johnson, including Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson. Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia are among a group of five players at three under.  

Watson had one of the day's best saves with a birdie on No. 1 after he hit his tee shot into the trees:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Bubba can make birdie from anywhere. #QuickHits https://t.co/ylPLfAZ2WK

Fowler didn't have a singular moment like Watson, but he put himself in contention heading into the second round thanks to his approach on the fairways:

PGA TOUR Communications @PGATOURComms

.@RickieFowler hit 17 of 18 Greens in Regulation today. This marks the 10th time in his @PGATOUR career where he has hit 17 or more greens in regulation in a round on TOUR #ShotLink

Jordan Spieth is sitting at one under par, though he's right in the mix after firing a 70. 

Since missing the cut at the Phoenix Open four weeks ago, Spieth has made steady improvements. He finished ninth at the Genesis Open two weeks ago, which is his season's best showing. 

Some of the problems that have plagued Spieth all season reared their heads Thursday. The 24-year-old, who ranks 164th in putting strokes gained in 2018, cost himself 1.55 strokes on the green in the first round at Club de Golf Chapultepec.

With low scores prevalent after one round in Mexico City, there's ample time for the field to challenge Oosthuizen. Johnson won last year's tournament after being three shots back following the first round. 

             

Stats via PGATour.com.

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