MEXICO CITY — Rory McIlroy nearly made a hole-in-one on the same short par 4 that Tiger Woods hit his first competitive shot in Mexico out-of-bounds. McIlroy kept right on rolling to an 8-under 63 for a one-shot lead Thursday in the Mexico Championship.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy,” McIlroy said. “I hit a lot of good golf shots, but I left myself a lot of tap-ins for birdies. As 63s go, I shot 63 at Riviera last week, but this felt probably a little more stress-free.”
Woods opened with a double bogey and salvaged his round with an even-par 71.
McIlroy’s only setback was trying to hit through the trees and catching one limb that led to a bogey on the par-5 sixth hole near the end of his round. He bounced back with a 20-foot birdie and wound up with a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.
Justin Thomas, who lost in a playoff last year to Phil Mickelson, and Matt Kuchar were at 66.
Romero on top in windy Puerto Rico: RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico — Andres Romero shot a 6-under 66 in windy conditions to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open. Romero birdied three of his last five holes in a bogey-free round at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club. Austria’s Sepp Straka was a stroke back. Nine golfers were tied for third at 68.
Ji continues hot streak in Thailand: CHONBURI, Thailand — Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea led the LPGA Thailand by two shots after opening with a 9-under-par 63. Ji won her fifth U.S. LPGA Tour title in last month’s Tournament of Champions. She picked up right where she left off. At one point, Ji birdied nine out of the 14 holes. “I felt really great. I didn’t miss any fairways and missed just two greens,” Ji said. “I have a lot of confidence.”