Two of the European Tour’s hottest players brought their best golf to their first World Golf Championship.
Louis Oosthuizen, a world-class player for the better part of a decade, drilled a long iron into 4 feet for eagle on the par-5 15th and had birdies on two of the short par 4s at Chapultepec Golf Club for a 7-under 64 in the Mexico Championship on Thursday.
Right behind were two players unfamiliar to the world stage.
Shubhankar Sharma, a 21-year-old from India and the only two-time winner on the European Tour this season, holed an eagle chip after making the turn and finished with a wedge into 2 feet for birdie and a 65.
Chris Paisley of England, who followed his victory in the South African Open with a pair of top fives against strong fields in the Middle East, had his name atop the leaderboard for most of the warm afternoon until he came up short of the 16th and made his lone bogey in a round of 65.
Xander Schauffele also was at 65, while Rafael Cabrera Bello and Kiradech Aphibarnrat were at 66.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson opened with a 69, the kind of round that showed that a slightly softer Chapultepec allowed for low scoring.
Bubba Watson, coming off a victory at Riviera, also had a 69 and had reason to feel worse. He was leading at 7 under until running off four bogeys in a six-hole stretch at the end of his round.
Justin Thomas didn’t carry over his best form from last week’s playoff victory at the Honda Classic. He opened with a 72, eight shots out of the lead.
Jordan Spieth, who didn’t decide to play until late last week, opened with a 70.
LPGA — Jennifer Song shot an opening 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead at the Women’s World Championship in Singapore.
The 28-year-old American reeled off seven birdies in a round that was interrupted for two hours by lightning.
Michelle Wie and Ji Eun-Hee (67) were tied for second, while another nine players finished a further stroke back at 4 under.
Top-ranked Shanshan Feng (70) bogeyed the last hole, while No. 2 Lexi Thompson (75) struggled in making five bogeys.
European — In Pretoria, Louis de Jager’s strong finish gave him a one-shot lead after the first round of the Tshwane Open.