Phil Mickelson shot 4-under-par 67 and was one of six players tied for the lead after the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec in the high altitude of Mexico City.
The 46-year-old Mickelson collected six birdies, including a 16-foot putt on the final hole, to share the top spot with PGA champion Jimmy Walker, rookie Jon Rahm of Spain, Ross Fisher of England, Ryan Moore and Lee Westwood of England.
“This is incredibly challenging for all of us,” said Lefty, who has 42 PGA Tour victories but hasn’t won since the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield. “We’re dealing with distance control and it’s hard to believe how for the ball goes.
“But I like the greens because they are like the ones I grew up on, but they are difficult because they are small, there’s a lot of contour and they are hard to read. There is a good mixture of holes, with some birdie chances, but there are some tough ones, too.”
Third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, playing for the first time in seven weeks after overcoming a rib injury, was suffering from a stomach problem but sank a 28-foot eagle putt on the sixth hole in a 68 to tie for seventh with Matt Kuchar, Pat Perez of San Diego, Sergio Garcia of Spain, Chris Wood of England, Thomas Pieters of Belgium and Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay.
Dustin Johnson, playing his first tournament as No. 1 player in the world, shot 70 and was in a tie for 20th that included Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose of England.
Defending champion Adam Scott of Australia was tied for 47th at 73.