DeChambeau birdies his way to WGC-Mexico Championship lead, McIlroy falls

By Sports Desk February 21, 2020

Bryson DeChambeau birdied his way to a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the WGC-Mexico Championship on Friday.

DeChambeau produced a putting masterclass to move top of the leaderboard after two rounds with an eight-under-par 63.

The American golfer had seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch as he lit up Club de Golf Chapultepec.

DeChambeau finished with nine birdies and just one bogey to be 11 under and clear of countryman Patrick Reed (63) and South African Erik van Rooyen (62).

"It was a lot of fun," DeChambeau said. "Surely when you have days like that you can't help but smile out there, and making those putts the way I did, striking the ball the way I did, it's surely a joy out there.

"The confidence has got to be high. It is high, and it's a lot of fun to see putts finally going in. I'm going to go out and do my work like I normally do, go putt a little bit, hit some balls, but overall everything is going pretty well. I’m firing on all cylinders."

Birthday boy Van Rooyen, 30, tied the course record with his sizzling and flawless second round, which included nine birdies.

Justin Thomas (66) dropped two positions to nine under as he ended the second day tied for fourth alongside Hideki Matsuyama (64).

World number one Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, lost top spot following his two-under-par 69.

Carrying a two-shot lead into the second round, McIlroy was unable to replicate his first-round 65 as the Northern Irishman slipped three strokes off the pace.

Bubba Watson – a three-time runner-up – is three under through 36 holes after his 72, while defending champion Dustin Johnson (71) and struggling Jordan Spieth (73) are both five over and tied for 60th.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Team Europe captain Harrington determined for Ryder Cup to go ahead Coronavirus: Team Europe captain Harrington determined for Ryder Cup to go ahead

    Padraig Harrington insists the Ryder Cup must go ahead if possible and Europe's captain said he will pick all 12 players if that is what it takes for the event to take place.

    The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the sporting calendar, with the PGA and European Tours suspended.

    Both the Masters and US PGA Championship have already been postponed, while it remains to be seen if the U.S. Open and The Open will go ahead.

    Qualifying for the Ryder Cup has been compromised as a result and some have called for the September event to be put back by a year.

    However, Harrington says the show must go on at Whistling Straits if the situation has improved enough by then.

    "We're playing on, if at all possible, because the merit of getting out there and showcasing our sport far outweighs a perfect qualifying system," he told Sportsmail.

    "It wouldn't worry me if we were the first tournament back and I had to go with 12 picks with no qualifying. In many ways, it would be perfect if the Ryder Cup was the first tournament back. 

    "Just 12 guys from Europe and 12 from America, with no prize money at stake and competing just for the glory? Wouldn't that be a nice way for sport to start back?

    "I look at it this way. Imagine if they showed a live game from the National League in football on television tonight. The whole of Britain and Ireland would be watching.

    "That's the power of live sport, and how much we're missing it. Multiply that by so many times and you get to the scale of the Ryder Cup. 

    "Don't we have a duty and a responsibility to try to hold it? Qualifying can always be sorted out.

    "I'm a reasonable person when it comes to preparing for all eventualities but how could you have foreseen anything so horrifying?

    "We've got all our different scenarios but none of them really add up to anything important in the real world. But we go on, and we're trying to be ready. If we can play, we'll be there, and I know the PGA of America are on the same page."

    Harrington also offered his thoughts on what will happen with this season's majors, adding: "I have an inside track regarding the Ryder Cup and I can tell you our date is set in stone and the other authorities are working around us. 

    "But I'm not privy to other details. If you're asking me as a pro, I'd say the Open will move from July to a later date rather than be cancelled, and there must be a strong chance there will be two majors played back-to-back."

  • Tiger v Mickelson II? Phil says he's working on it Tiger v Mickelson II? Phil says he's working on it

    Phil Mickelson hinted at another showdown with superstar Tiger Woods, claiming he was "working on it".

    Mickelson landed $9million in prize money after defeating arch-rival Woods on the fourth play-off hole of 'The Match' in 2018.

    The big-money two-man clash in Las Vegas attracted plenty of attention over the Thanksgiving weekend.

    With the PGA Tour on hiatus until at least the end of May due to the coronavirus pandemic, fans are desperate for their sport fix.

    One golf supporter asked Mickelson on Twitter: "Do you think there is a chance you two go play a round mic'd up with one camera guy and just put it out there on a stream for people to watch?? We need live sports".

    In response, five-time major champion Mickelson replied: "Working on it".

    "I don't tease. I'm kinda a sure thing," Mickelson said when pressed on whether he was being serious.

    It remains to be seen whether Mickelson was referring to a second instalment of 'The Match' or something different to help fill the void amid the COVID-19 crisis.

     

  • Coronavirus: Irish Open postponed as European Tour evaluates schedule Coronavirus: Irish Open postponed as European Tour evaluates schedule

    The Irish Open is the latest European Tour event to be postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    There has been no European Tour action since the Qatar Masters at the start of March with much of the sports world in lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19.

    Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell was set to host the Irish Open at Mount Juliet Estate from May 28-31, but the second Rolex Series event of the year was cancelled on Monday.

    European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “The decision to postpone the Irish Open follows consultation with all stakeholders and was made with public health and well-being as our absolute priority.

    "Our thoughts are with everyone right now and we are all united in trying to fight the spread of the pandemic.

    "With this in mind, we will continue to evaluate all aspects of our 2020 European Tour schedule, and discussions on the rescheduling of postponed events will remain ongoing until we have clarity on the global situation."

    McDowell said: "As important as the Irish Open is to all of us, everyone's health is our only concern. My thoughts are with everyone affected by the crisis and I hope everyone keeps safe and well during these difficult times."

    World number one Rory McIlroy was also due to be in the field in a tournament that Jon Rahm won for a second time last year.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.