MEXICO CITY — Dustin Johnson leads on the midway level of the WGC-Mexico Championship, however he is bought a giant group of golf stars chasing him that features Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood … and Tiger Woods. That’s the level of the World Golf Championships, which convey collectively one of the best of one of the best, with the hopes of providing up a compelling weekend leaderboard. To this point, we have now one. This is a more in-depth look:
The DJ Issue
He gained the match when it was first performed at Membership de Golf Chapultepic in 2017. Final yr, he completed seventh. And now Johnson is in place to win once more. Regardless of the tight confines and short-playing traits that include being at altitude, he makes it look simple right here.
Johnson would not thoughts bombing his driver, and will get the advantage of some very quick strategy pictures. For 2 rounds, he’s second in strokes gained tee to inexperienced and fourth in strokes gained off the tee.
Dustin Johnson putted for birdie on each gap Friday and shot a Four-under 67, leaving him two pictures forward of Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar on the Mexico Championship.
Tiger Woods hit 11 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in a second-round 66 to maneuver from a tie for 25th to a tie for eighth on the WGC-Mexico Championship, the place Dustin Johnson leads.
Rickie Fowler, after a wayward tee shot on his first gap Friday, was penalized for dropping a ball from shoulder peak as a substitute of knee peak, as required by a brand new rule.
On Friday, Johnson hit 17 greens and putted for birdie on each gap, which is hard to beat. He stands at 131, 11-under par via 36 holes.
“I simply take pleasure in enjoying this type of golf,” Johnson stated. “It makes you focus. You bought to assume. And also you’re doing lots of calculations with the numbers and making an attempt to determine how far the ball goes to really go. So I take pleasure in it. It does arrange properly for me.”
Ranked third on the earth, Johnson is certainly one of simply 4 gamers — Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas and Tyrrell Hatton are the others — to complete within the high 10 within the two years the match has been performed right here.
And a win would assist him attain a milestone. It will be the 20th of his PGA Tour profession, a mark not achieved since Davis Love III gained his 20th in 2008. Doing so would give him lifetime standing on the PGA Tour.
Rory tries to interrupt via
It has been practically a yr since Rory McIlroy’s final victory on the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He is positioned himself properly in Mexico after scores of 63-70. McIlroy began quick Friday with birdies on three of his first 4 holes however was derailed by a four-putt from 15 ft on the ninth that led to a double bogey. He added only one birdie the remainder of the best way.
McIlroy, 29, has three top-5 finishes in three begins this yr on the PGA Tour, together with a tie for fourth on Sunday on the Genesis Open that included a bogey on the ultimate gap.
“I really like the place my perspective’s at,” McIlroy stated. “My perspective on the golf course is unbelievable and my placing is sweet. If I am enthusiastic about something with my recreation, it is my placing and my perspective have in all probability been one of the best they have been in a very long time.”
Regardless of taking 32 putts, McIlroy nonetheless ranks 20th for the match in strokes gained placing. He is No. 1 in strokes gained off the tee and tee to inexperienced.
The Apology Brothers
Each Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia might stand to vary their very own story strains after extremely publicized controversies in current weeks.
First it was Garcia who broken a number of greens in frustration on the Saudi Worldwide match, resulting in a disqualification, sterns rebukes from fellow gamers and an apology main into final week’s Genesis Open.
Garcia’s greatest good friend needed to then be Kuchar, who stole the headlines from him final week on the Genesis Open with the persevering with story of what was deemed to be a low cost to his fill-in caddie when he gained a match close to Cancun in November. That wasn’t resolved till Friday, when Kuchar determined to make good and in addition apologize.
Now each are in rivalry. They got here very near being in the identical group Saturday. Kuchar trails Johnson by two; Garcia is 4 again.
“Final week was arduous,” Kuchar stated. “It was really nice coming right here, having a lot assist from the native crowd. I had so many guys within the apply rounds come up and say, congratulations on the win at Mayakoba, I hope you win once more right here in Mexico Metropolis. It was good to have followers nonetheless supporting me.”
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What to make of Tiger
Tiger Woods’ resolution to play the WGC-Mexico Championship over his hometown Honda Basic final week has been the topic of a lot conjecture. To this point, so good. After a torpid opening-round 71, Woods appeared significantly better Friday, taking pictures a 66 that moved him to a tie for eighth.
Whether or not he can provide himself a Sunday probability at victory might be a part of the Saturday story line. However do not count on him to be overly aggressive, as his statistics proceed to point out. He ranks 69th in strokes gained off the tee.
“Simply be affected person with it round this golf course,” Woods stated. “Yeah, you’ll be able to shoot the odd, 64, 65, 63 round this golf course, however you can too shoot one thing mid-to-high 70s in a short time. It simply would not take a lot. Simply takes a pair dangerous drives right here and there, hit it in these timber and may’t get out of them, get within the flawed spot. You are seeing a really excessive excessive between the low rounds and the excessive rounds.”
Even and not using a win, a top-10 end right here would validate the choice to make the journey. Final yr, Woods completed 12th on the Honda Basic at a course that doesn’t swimsuit him. To raised that end at a spot that can earn him extra FedEx Cup factors in addition to World Rating factors will go a great distance later within the yr when these issues are extra impactful.