Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fore Things: DJ's putter cooperates

MEXICO CITY – Rory McIlroy showed no signs of rust or the ravages of injury that forced him to miss the last six weeks, but there were plenty of others who weren’t at 100 percent on Day 2. Here are Fore Things from the WGC-Mexico Championship.

1. Phil Mickelson’s longtime caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, wasn’t the only caddie struggling on Friday. Kevin Kisner’s caddie, Duane Bock, was also suffering from a similar stomach virus.

Unlike Mackay, who was replaced after just four holes, Bock was able to complete the round and was rewarded by Kisner, who followed his opening 72 with a 68.

2. Even with a new caddie on his bag, brother Tim, Mickelson was his same aggressive self. Take the second hole where his drive sailed well left of the green with a row of trees blocking his approach to the green.

“I was between a 64- and a 60-[degree wedge],” Mickelson said. “If I had flopped the 60 I think I could have made birdie.”

Instead, he hit the 64-degree wedge, clipped the trees and settled for a scrambling par.

3. Dustin Johnson followed a first-round 70 with a 66 on Friday that moved him 15 spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for fifth place. The difference on Day 2? Putting.

“I just made a couple more 3-footers today than I did yesterday,” said Johnson, who was 17 for 19 from inside 10 feet on Friday compared to his 15-for-22 effort on Day 1.

4. Adjusting to the elevation changes this week in Mexico has been a challenge. Players have been adding anywhere from 15 to 22 percent for each club depending on the shot. Justin Thomas, however, is confident with his formula.

“I feel like we hit about pin high every time so that definitely gives me a lot of confidence,” Thomas said. “It’s just a percentage. I’m playing about 12 ½, give or take. If I hit it harder, it’s a little bit more, 13 percent.”

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