MEXICO CITY – As expected, the elevation at Club de Golf Chapultepec played a critical role on Thursday at the WGC-Mexico Championship, but high-flying drives weren’t the only excitement. Here are Fore Things from Day 1 in Mexico.
1. Henrik Stenson’s return to the PGA Tour in 2017 was short-lived. The Swede withdrew after just 11 holes with a stomach virus. Stenson was 3 over par when he withdrew and wasn’t the only player slowed by illness on Thursday. Rory McIlroy, who is also making his ’17 Tour debut in Mexico, said he’d been awake since 3 a.m. “worshiping the porcelain bowl.”
2. Lee Westwood has always been a well-traveled player, but this year he’s taken things to a new level. The Englishman is playing his fifth event of the year this week in his fourth different country following starts in Dubai, Asia and South Africa. But the travel doesn’t seem to have had a negative impact on Westwood, who is in a six-way tie for the lead at 4 under.
3. Gary Woodland announced via Twitter that he and his wife, Gabby, are expecting twins. Woodland didn’t have the best day on the course, finishing with a 2-over 73 for a share of 47th place, but the announcement helped lift his spirits. “We’re very excited,” Woodland said. “We’ve been trying for a while so it’s nice that it happened.” The twins are due on Aug. 14, the day after the final round of the PGA Championship. “Let’s hope they come on time,” Woodland said.
4. Although no one cracked the 400-yard threshold in the thin air, there were 39 drives over 350 yards on Thursday. Jhonattan Vegas paced the field with a 387-yard drive at the first, followed by Roberto Castro, who was just shy of that mark at 386 yards at No. 1. Not surprisingly, McIlroy had three of the day’s 10 longest drives.