The PGA Tour is in Mexico this week, and Chris Kirk is off to a fast start south of the border as he eyes another win. Here’s how things look after the first round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, where Kirk holds a one-shot lead over three veterans:
Leaderboard: Chris Kirk (-8), Ben Crane (-7), Camilo Villegas (-7), Gary Woodland (-7), Webb Simpson (-6), Aaron Wise (-6)
What it means: Kirk was among the late wave at El Camaleon, and he moved past Villegas near the end of his round. An accurate ball-striker whose last win came at Colonial, Kirk now holds the top spot on another course where position and accuracy trump distance off the tee.
Round of the day: Kirk was a runner-up last month at the Sanderson Farms Championship, and he’s again in the mix after a bogey-free 63 in the opening round. Kirk circled three straight birdies on Nos. 13-15 and also had back-to-back birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 and Nos. 7 and 8.
Best of the rest: Crane had to withdraw with an injury last week in Vegas, but he showed no signs of injury during a 7-under 64 in the opening round. Crane opened with birdies on four of his first eight holes and missed only two fairways. He’s looking for his first win in nearly two years.
Biggest disappointment: Defending champ Graeme McDowell could be in for a short stay in Mexico after opening with a 4-over 75. The Ulsterman made only one birdie against five bogeys, and he has work to do simply to make the cut as he’s already 12 shots off the pace.
Main storyline heading into Friday: One week after a 47-year-old won in Las Vegas, it’s once again a seasoned leaderboard in Playa del Carmen. A number of veterans are off to a strong start, chief among them Kirk who struggled with injury early last season. Can he keep up the pace, and which former Tour winner will attempt to chase him down?
Shot of the day: Wise earned a spot in the field via a top-10 finish in Vegas, and he got off to a fast start with a hole-in-one from 116 yards on the par-3 fourth. What’s more, he followed it up with an eagle on the very next hole en route to a 65.