on’t be concerned if you heard what sounded like a wolf howling on Thursday morning; it was just a 22-year-old in Mexico making some noise.
Nobody was better than Matthew Wolff on a day when low numbers were the theme. The former Oklahoma State standout tied his career low with a 61 on the par-71 El Camaleon Golf Club at the Mayakoba Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, to seize the early lead at the 2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.
Wolff finished T-17 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and solo second at the Shriners Children’s Open in his first two PGA Tour starts. This season, he’s shot under par in each of his nine rounds, with eight rounds in the 60s.
“I feel like I’ve definitely gone through some stuff in the last six or seven months, but to be able to come out of it with a really good attitude and, you know, everything did go right today,” Wolff said after hitting 11 of 14 fairways, finding the green in regulation 14 times, making 10 birdies and no bogeys for a steady, carefree round. “However, I believe I landed it a few feet from the pin on the second hole, and it ripped off the green.” Or on hole 11, which is my second hole. “I think all I can really control is my attitude about making good swings, and it’s obviously helped me out a lot and is probably a big reason why I’m playing so well right now.”
However, the winner of the 2019 3M Open, who turned professional just a month ago, wasn’t the only one to score on Thursday. Low scores were achieved by the lack of wind, especially early in the day. Only nine players were over par among the 66 players that teed off in the first round morning wave, while 20 were at least 4 under par.
At 8 under, Aaron Wise is in second place, followed by Chris Kirk, Billy Horschel, Sergio Garcia, and Talor Gooch, who are all tied for third at 7 under.
“I think there were a couple shots here and there that I could have hit better, but it’s difficult to hit every shot exactly how you want over 18 holes,” Garcia said, who was surrounded by Mexican supporters the whole day.
“I remember playing in the WGC at Chapultepec in Mexico City, and I always felt like the crowd was incredible. Every time I go somewhere – lucky for me, I receive a lot of help everywhere – it almost feels like you’re in Spain when you’re in Mexico or South America. It’s great to be here and give them something to cheer about.”
Kirk, who started with Jonas Blixt and Danny Lee in the first group out at 7:55 a.m. ET, set the tone early with an ace on his opening hole of the day, the par-3 10th. He finished T-3 with a score of 7 under par after going 5-under through his first four holes.
Kirk chuckled, “Made me feel a little better about my 4:30 a.m. wake-up call this morning.” “We were the first group out, so it was still a little gloomy and dark, and as we approached the green, it was like, ‘There’s no ball there, there’s no ball there.’ “I swear I saw it rolling on the green,” Justin, my caddie, said, so I said, ‘It’s either in or just over in the rough,’ and sure enough, Danny and Jonas got up there before me and started celebrating early.”
Justin Thomas had to come back on the back nine for a 3-under 68 in his first start of the new season on Thursday. Thomas began his day on No. 10 and finished the round at 3 over par. He then went on a tear down the stretch, birdieing six of his final seven holes, including five in a row from Nos. 3 to 7.
He remarked after the round, “I’ve got to be — I should be and I will be more thrilled with the turnaround, but right now I’ve got to figure out how to just get off to a little bit better start.” “It’s the same thing that happened in Vegas, where I’m having a hard time focusing and getting into that competitive mindset.” Unfortunately, you can’t afford to be 3 over through 11 holes every time you play this course.
“Making those putts on 3 and 4 just sort of got some momentum going, and I knew my aim with seven to go was to try to make it in the 60s, and it was wonderful to get one more than that.”