DeChambeau leads by one as birdies abound at WGC Mexico Championship

MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Bryson DeChambeau put on a putting clinic on the way to an eight-under par 63 and a one-shot lead in the WGC Mexico Championship over Erik van Rooyen and Patrick Reed.

America’s DeChambeau rolled in 143 feet of putts as he built a 36-hole total of 11-under par 131 at Club de Golf Chapultepec.

Former Masters champion Reed was also red-hot on the greens on the way to a 63 that put him at 10-under alongside South Africa’s van Rooyen – who had nine birdies without a bogey in a 62 on his 30th birthday.

World number one Rory McIlroy came alive late on the way to a two-under par 69 that put him two off the lead alongside Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and American Justin Thomas.

Matsuyama was 11-under for the tournament after posting nine birdies in his first 15 holes, but two late bogeys saw him sign for a seven-under par 64.

Thomas was atop the leaderboard at 10-under after his eagle at his 10th hole of the day – the first – but eventually signed for a 66.

DeChambeau’s fireworks on the greens included a 46-foot birdie putt at the seventh, which followed a 26-footer at number six.

DeChambeau had teed off on 10 and rolled in a six-footer for his first birdie of the day at 11. He didn’t miss a putt from within 10 feet and strung together four birdies in a row from the 18th through the third.

“It was a lot of fun,” said DeChambeau, a three-time winner on the US PGA Tour. “When you have days like that you can’t help but smile out there. Making those putts the way I did, striking the ball like I did, it was surely a joy out there.”

DeChambeau said his 13-foot birdie putt at the 18th was the real momentum-builder.

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States. PHOTO: AP