Louis Oosthuizen grabs lead at WGC-Mexico Championship with seven-under 64

India’s Shubhankar Sharma will take part in the 2018 World Golf Championship to be held in Mexico from March 1-4

Major victor Louis Oosthuizen enjoyed his lowest round at a World Golf Championships event after earning a one-stroke lead following day one of the WGC-Mexico Championship. He posted more bogeys (three) than birdies (two) for just his third over-par round (72) of the year and is tied for 39 in the 64-man field. Chris Paisley of England and Shubhankar Sharma of India were one behind, along with Xander Schauffele.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson came to the Club de Golf Chapultepec as the betting favorite to win his sixth career World Golf Championship title - and he very almost carded an ace on his eighth hole of the day.

"I've been swinging it pretty good the last two or three weeks".

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.

Instead, Thursday at Chapultepec Golf Club delivered a mixed bag of compelling, if not little-known, players and just as many out-of-character performances.

World No. 2 Jon Rahm of Spain is well within striking distance at 4-under after a round that featured six birdies and two bogeys.

"It's the biggest tournament I've played in by a long stretch", Paisley said.

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Paisley shared second place with Tour Championship victor Xander Schauffele, with Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat on five under. "To play as well as I did and shoot a great score against the world's best players and to be right up there, I'm just delighted".

Johnson, 33, has enjoyed plenty of success at WGC events and first won this tournament in 2015, when it was held at Trump National Doral in Miami. "I really kind of started on Tuesday, wasn't swinging it very well, and then yesterday I just was hitting it terrible".

But for him to defend his title, he will have to fight off every top 50 player except for Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, and Brooks Koepka, making it as deep a field as one will find ahead of the Masters.

Hot on his heels are a trio of players getting their first taste of World Golf Championship play.

Victor of the 2010 Open Championship, South African Oosthuizen opened with a seven-under-par 64 in Mexico on Thursday.

The billboards around Chapultepec understandably include the likes of Johnson, Spieth, Fowler and Thomas.



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