A late eagle boosted smooth-swinging Louis Oosthuizen to the first-round lead as a diverse mix of players lined up close behind the South African at the WGC-Mexico Championship on Thursday.
In just his second PGA Tour start of the year, Oosthuizen ran off five birdies before landing a four-foot eagle at the par-five 15th, which plays more as a long par-four in the rarefied air more than 2,225m above sea level. Chris Paisley of England and Shubhankar Sharma of India were one behind, along with Xander Schauffele.
Among a group one back at six under is reigning Tour Championship victor Xander Schauffele, who also went bogey-free.
"I had some really good holes, I had some really bad holes".
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. (It was) a bit of a scrappy finish with a few missed clubs and a poor shot on 17 but I held it together.
He and Paisley were one stroke in front of Spain's Rafael Cabrera Bello and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, both in the clubhouse on five-under 66.
"I didn't want to come here and just be happy to be part of it and just make up the numbers". "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". "It's just one of those days where kind of everything wasn't going my way and not playing well definitely added to that".
To be fair, Oosthuizen is hardly a journeyman and he's certainly comfortable on the biggest stages (see Open Championship, 2010); and Rahm, who finished third here past year in his debut and can overtake Johnson this week as world No. 1 depending on a variety of scenarios, has emerged as a bona fide world-beater.
Among the other top players in the field this week are world number two Jon Rahm, who finished third here a year ago, and reigning Player of the Year Justin Thomas, fresh from his Sunday triumph at the Honda Open and showing no signs of slowing down.
The billboards around Chapultepec understandably include the likes of Johnson, Spieth, Fowler and Thomas.