Published: Sun, March 05, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Rory McIlroy Looks Strong Taking WGC-Mexico Lead

Rory McIlroy Looks Strong Taking WGC-Mexico Lead

Rory McIlroy may be sick but the four-time major victor is the man to beat at the halfway stage after rising to the top of the WGC-Mexico Championship leaderboard by two strokes.

It was the first occasion since the 1999 WGC - Amex Championship at Valderrama in Spain that "Bones" has not caddied for Mickelson for all 18 holes.

Not only is McIlroy playing for the first time in nearly two months, but he's also been dealing with a barrage of criticism ever since playing a round with President Trump a few weeks ago.

So why not add a hole-in-one to the equation?

McIlroy, and in a return to full competition in some six weeks since suffering a rib injury, capped his round in a three-hole stretch in birding 13, holing a 150-yard second shot for eagle at 14 and then sinking a four-footer for birdie at 15.

The Irishman will reclaim top spot in the world rankings for the first time since August 2015 by winning his third World Golf Championship title, as long as current number one Johnson finished joint fourth or worse.

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Brazel is three shots ahead of fellow Australian Marcus Fraser (through 14 holes), who reached three under during his front nine but plummeted to two over after four consecutive dropped shots and a double bogey.

In second were Phil Mickelson (68) and Ross Fisher (68), who were among six first-round co-leaders, and Justin Thomas (66). "I didn't feel it at all so it's all positive".

"He's irreplaceable, he's one of the best in the business", Mickelson said of Mackay.

"My body feels good, which is the most important thing I think, and if I can continue to play the way I have I've got a great chance this week".

I would have taken a 65 starting today and I definitely would have taken a two-shot lead going into the weekend, so I'm in a great position.

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