2020 WGC-Mexico Championship leaderboard: Rory McIlroy takes control after Round 1

McIlroy was nearly lights out on Thursday at Golf Club de Chapultepec

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Another round, another Rory McIlroy gem. We'll get to the Round 1 leader of the WGC-Mexico Championship shortly as we dive deep into the first 18 holes from the first WGC of 2020. There were some surprising (and unsurprising!) scores from Golf Club de Chapultepec on Thursday where most of the best in the world congregated just ahead of the PGA Tour's Florida swing. Let's take a look.

First place -- Rory McIlroy (-6): Zero surprises at this score. He came in playing probably the most consistent, best golf of anyone, and he's had success on this course before. Interestingly, McIlroy said he switched putters from last week's 35-inch model back to last year's 34-inch model. He finished fourth in putting on Thursday. With the run McIlroy is on, it's the type of first-round score that makes the tournament feel kind of over (I realize it's not yet over).

Other contenders -- Bubba Watson (-4), Justin Thomas (-4), Louis Oosthuizen (-4), Bryson DeChambeau (-4): A handful of guys who are playing terrific golf right now. Thomas is the best of the bunch, but the other three -- maybe somewhat quietly on a variety of tours -- have been really strong for all of 2020. I wouldn't be surprised to see any of them there at the end of the week on Sunday. Although I'm not sure how sustainable this number from Watson is.

Score that surprised -- Dustin Johnson (+5): What?! D.J. made one birdie, beat five players and lost strokes from tee to green and with his putter. I did not envision that being the case coming in, especially since he'd won two of three here and had a good week at Riviera.

Stat of the day: This one on Rory is astonishing. Not only is he finishing top 10 every week, he's living there. Taking up residence. Not existing outside of it.

Storyline to watch: The McIlroy-Thomas shootout on the weekend is the most obvious one for me. They've had some good events together in the past, but they haven't had any real, blow-for-blow bouts. Given their collective ranking in the OWGR (No. 1 and No. 4) and their budding friendship, this would be a fun one. It also seems imminent. McIlroy is +130 to win. Thomas is +500. Nobody else is better than +1600.

Other storyline to watch: Abraham Ancer is semi-lurking at 1 under after Round 1. His first win in his home country would be pretty amazing, especially given the run he's been on over the past several months, highlighted by that terrific Presidents Cup.

Jordan Spieth check-in: I'm heavily invested! Spieth made four birdies and shot a 3-over 74. Sounds about right! He finished 67th of 72 from tee to green, which -- unfortunately for him right now -- also sounds about right.

Prediction for Day 2: Feels like a Rory runaway. Something like 65-64, and that's a wrap for the weekend. I would prefer a J.T.-Rory slugfest, but I'm not sure that's what we're going to get. This is the perfect spot for Rory to get No. 19 (and complete the hilarious WGC slam).

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@JustinRayGolf via Twitter
February 20, 2020, 11:39 PM

Rory finished fourth in the field in putting on Thursday. He shot a 65 and is up a pair on Bubba and three on everybody else. Feels over.

About to grind out a recap, but interesting scores from Thursday's Round 1 include the following.

Rory (65)
Bubba (67) 
Matt Kuchar (75)
Dustin Johnson (76)

February 20, 2020, 11:03 PM

Bubba Watson gets in the house at -4. He's your early leader, but he's about to be joined by Rory McIlroy, who's out here just smoking 237-yard 6-irons (no big deal). Say what you want about WGC events, we almost always get awesome leaderboards because everyone in the field is ranked in the top 50 in the world.

Another name at the top right now is Bernd Wiesberger. I would imagine not many golf fans realize how good Wiesberger was in 2019. He's currently ranked ahead of Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari and Henrik Stenson. Stud.

February 20, 2020, 10:10 PM
@JustinRayGolf via Twitter
February 20, 2020, 9:58 PM

Have to say this now because it might not be in play later on. I need a Reed-Rory shootout in Mexico like I need oxygen in my lungs. Reed coming off shots fired from Brooks Koepka and Peter Kostis (after Rory defended him in December!). Rory looking for the hilarious WGC slam. The Ryder Cup redux. The Doral history! I'm asking for the moon, I realize, but I refuse to apologize.

February 20, 2020, 9:13 PM
@JustinRayGolf via Twitter
February 20, 2020, 9:07 PM
@JustinRayGolf via Twitter
February 20, 2020, 9:02 PM

Let's check in on Jordan Spieth. He's even-par, things seem to be going well. Oh my gosh, look at this scorecard! Two bogeys, two birdies and he just doubled a par three. Send help!

Rory leads. Better get used to it. He's going to lead the entire week.

February 20, 2020, 9:02 PM

Tyrrell Hatton joins the leaders. He's going to be an interesting piece as it relates to the Ryder Cup later this year. One of the best Euros in the world, but he's been hurt of late. Currently ranked No. 35 in the world and should be on that squad. But he'll have to have a good year.

February 20, 2020, 8:19 PM

Gary Woodland and Rory McIlroy are tied for the lead at -3. Here's what's at stake this week for each.

Woodland: First WGC win, first win since last year's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Rory: WGC slam (ahead of his shot at the actual slam in April)

Dustin Johnson, by the way, is +3 thru 7 and T66.

February 20, 2020, 7:37 PM

Early board in Mexico is interesting. Gary Woodland, Rory, Corey Conners and Tyrrell Hatton all -2 at the start of the first round. Rory was my one-and-done pick, but Hatton and Conners fascinate me. Hatton was 80-1 coming in even though he hasn't played since last fall following wrist surgery. He always plays well on this course at this event.

Conners has had a good fall and spring with just two missed cuts since the Open last summer.

February 20, 2020, 6:58 PM
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