A Bryson DeChambeau masterclass was followed by another trace of his extrovert nature. Quite naturally after DeChambeau had delivered a 63, including a closing nine of 29, at the WGC Mexico Championship the Californian was asked what was the key to improvement in his accuracy. Wayward shots once plagued him. “I’m not telling you, it’s a secret,” DeChambeau insisted, as if protecting matters of state.
At 11 under par he heads this field at the halfway point. If he putts as was the case in the second round – the 26-year-old holed out from a combined 144ft – he will prove hard to topple. Perhaps in event of success he will be minded to open up.
Erik van Rooyen blasted himself into contention with a 62, which moved him to 10 under par. Van Rooyen’s stunning Friday included matching halves of 31.
This was not a bad way at all for the South African to mark his 30th birthday, as he tied the course record at Chapultepec. “I suppose that was a little gift to myself,” said Van Rooyen. “I’ve actually been a little bit uncomfortable the last few weeks but I’m working on stuff. If you just stick to your process, just trust in the fact that you’re doing the right things, 62s happen.” He makes it sound so easy.
Patrick Reed, who made a birdie from 20ft on the 17th when en route to a 63, is tied with Van Rooyen.
In a week where Reed’s integrity has been called into question, including by Brooks Koepka, victory would be the perfect response.
This was a mixed day for Rory McIlroy after 11 holes which included 10 pars and a bogey. A run of birdie, bogey, birdie, par, birdie, birdie followed for the Northern Irishman.
McIlroy signed for a 69 which leaves him three adrift of DeChambeau. Justin Thomas’s 66, which included an eagle two at the 1st, moved him to minus nine. Hideki Matsuyama has the same total after a 64.
The Premier Golf League, seeking to coax leading players from existing tours, has confirmed financial backing from Saudi Arabia for the first time. McIlroy publicly distanced himself from the project before teeing off in Mexico but the PGL’s chief executive, Andrew Gardiner, responded with his first series of interviews.
“Our shareholder base is extraordinarily diverse, just north of 60 partners and we’ve been very selective about each,” Gardiner said.
“The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is incredibly passionate about golf and its future and I’m delighted to have them involved.”
Any player who commits to the PGL will be banished from the PGA Tour, perhaps immediately. Gardiner said of McIlroy’s comments: “They weren’t actually surprising because everyone’s going to have a view.”
The PGA Tour rookie Viktor Hovland shot a six-under 66 at windy Coco Beach for a share of the Puerto Rico Open lead.