A flawless seven under par 64 saw Louis Oosthuizen set the pace on day one of the WGC – Mexico Championship.
The South African, seeking a first World Golf Championships title in his 33rd appearance, carded five birdies before a late eagle saw him snatch the outright lead.
Current Race to Dubai Number One Shubhankar Sharma of India, England’s Chris Paisley and American Xander Schauffele were a shot further back after matching six under par rounds of 65, with Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello tied on five under.
Oosthuizen made a perfect start with close-range birdies at the first and second, before converting from 16 feet at the fifth.
Further gains came from six feet at the tenth and 12 feet at the 12th, before the former Open Champion hit a stunning approach to four feet on the par five 15th to set up a simple eagle putt which enabled him to post the first round lead.
Sharma and Paisley were particularly impressive during round one. Both men are making their World Golf Championship debuts this week, after superb starts to 2018 on the European Tour.
Sharma is the only man to have won twice on the 2018 European Tour so far after his victories at the Joburg Open and Maybank Championship while Paisley won the BMW SA Open and followed that result with top-five finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to move to sixth place in the Race to Dubai.
Louis Oosthuizen: “I’m very confident with my driver at the moment. Had a night little cut going with it, nice just aiming it a little left and just swing away. I’ve been swinging it pretty good the last three, four weeks. Felt I played really well last week, just got caught in the Bear Trap a little bit. Yeah, I’m hitting it well and just need to do the same tomorrow. You know, the greens can be a little bumpy at the end of the day, but I hit a few really close.”
Shubhankar Sharma:“I’m really pleased with the way I played. I was very nervous in the morning, but very happy with the way I put it all together. Even after the rain delay that we had, just to make birdie on the last hole, absolutely fantastic.
“To be honest, I’m actually relaxed now. I just wanted the first round to get out of the way. You’re always very happy when you start with such a low round, especially for me. This is such a big event, I would say this is taking some pressure off me, playing well on this course. And I proved to myself that I can roll it, so I’ll just do the same things that I’ve been doing.”
Chris Paisley: “I was delighted with the score, and obviously it’s the biggest tournament I’ve played in by a long stretch. 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.
“I’ve just been very quietly confident about my game, you know. I didn’t want to come here and just be happy to be part of it and just make up the numbers. I felt good about my game and I really like the course, it kind of suits my strengths, so I was just quietly confident. I’m obviously surprised that I’ve gone out and shot six under and I’m in second place but as I said I was quietly confident today.”