Will Gordon held the lead at the end of a round on the PGA Tour for the first time in the Sanderson Farms Championship late in September, and he’s done it again.
The 26-year-old Gordon tied his career-best score with a 9-under-par 62 to lead Russell Henley by one stroke after day one of the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba on El Camaleón Golf Course at Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway because the course was wet because of recent rain, which continued off-and-on during Thursday’s play.
“I was in the fairway on almost every hole,” said Gordon, whose only pro victory came earlier this year in the Albertsons Boise Open on the Korn Ferry Tour. “Especially with ball in hand today, and the greens being soft, you have a lot of opportunity to hit the ball close to the hole.
“With the putter hot, it was a pretty smooth day. I don’t know what the rest of the week holds, because nothing’s promised and nothing’s given, so I’ve just got to continue to try to go out and earn it.”
Gordon, who hit 9-of-14 fairways and 15-of-18 greens in regulation while taking only 25 putts, started on the back nine and birdied the first four holes before making his lone bogey at No. 14, and added four more birdies in addition to making an eagle on the fifth hole.
Henley, who claimed the last of his three PGA Tour victory in the 2017 Shell Houston Open, also started at No. 10 and collected six of his eight birdies on the back nine en route to a bogey-free 63.
“I haven’t played as much golf the last couple months as I normally do, and the last few tournaments I’ve played, I’ve been a little off,” said Henley, who also has three victories on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour.
“I just felt really comfortable out there today with my driver, which is big out here for me, because there are a lot of intimidating looking shots. And I rolled some putts in, too. So it was just a nice clean round.”
Francesco Molinari of Italy made four straight birdies on the front nine and eight in all before his only bogey at No. 18 in a 64 and is tied for third with Scott Piercy, who had four straight birdies through No. 8 and also eight overall; San Ryder, who also collected eight birdies against a single bogey, and Harris English, who put together five consecutive birdies through No. 7 in his bogey-free round.
Two-time defending champion Viktor Hovland of Norway highlighted his 65 with an eagle on the seventh hole and is in a big tie for seventh with second-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who made three birdies on each nine in a bogey-free round; David Lingmerth of Sweden, who birdied six holes and eagled No. 5 against two bogeys; Martin Laird of Scotland, who also had an eagle on the fifth hole in a bogey-free round; Patton Kizzire, who birdied five of the first seven holes in a bogey-free round, and Joseph Bramlett of Saratoga and Stanford, who played bogey-free with three birdies on each nine.
Also in the tie for seventh at 65 are John Huh of Los Angeles and Cal State Northridge, who eagled No. 13 and made only one bogey; Maverick McNealy of Portola Valley and Stanford, who eagled No. 5 and also had a single bogey; J.J. Spaun of San Dimas and San Diego State, who collected seven birdies and one bogey; Danny Willett of England, who also made seven birdies and a lone bogey; Troy Merritt, who played bogey-free with six birdies, and Taylor Montgomery, who had eight birdies and two bogeys.
Scheffler can regain the No. 1 ranking from Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland by winning or finishing solo second.
Ninth-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal had four birdies and four bogeys in a 71 and is tied for 90th.
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