Six-way tie at WGC, stomach bug doesn't upset McIlroy

MEXICO CITY • The medical bulletin issued by Rory McIlroy was not as anticipated. Whereas understandable interest surrounded the state of the 27-year-old's rib cage after a seven-week break caused by a fracture, McIlroy stepped from the course in Mexico City to cite another battle altogether - food poisoning.

The Northern Irishman's opening round of three-under 68 at the Mexico Championship - the first WGC of the year - is therefore even more worthy of credit than would have already been the case following a fitness-imposed absence.

He admitted he had been awake since 3am on Thursday.

"I don't really want to tell you what I'm feeling right now," said McIlroy with only half a smile.

"I'm definitely a bit weak. I haven't eaten anything since breakfast, so I'm a little weak.

"I ate the local stuff at dinner, which is what you're supposed to do. I don't know what it was specifically. I didn't get much sleep."

The rest of the field did not suffer stomach trouble but it was a testing day for them in high altitude.

Lee Westwood (67) spoke about his "ballistic" ball after bogeying the final two holes to fall into a share of the lead with Ross Fisher, Jimmy Walker, Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson and Ryan Moore.

Former world No. 1 Westwood was generally pleased with his performance, though he was punished a couple of times when his ball carried further than expected in the thin air, more than 2,200 metres above sea level.

"It's a tricky golf course. It's hard work playing at altitude. Occasionally, one just goes ballistic and you end up in a nightmare of a spot," Westwood told Golf Channel

Mickelson also spoke about how far he was hitting the ball.

"This is an incredible challenge for all of us," Mickelson said.

"Let's say I hit it 170 here, if I want to get a little more out of it, I can get 10-to-15 more yards, I can hit it 180, 185."

American Dustin Johnson, making his first start as world No. 1, shot 70 despite missing seven putts within seven feet.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

WGC-MEXICO CHAMPIONSHIP

Day 3: Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, tomorrow, 1am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'Six-way tie at WGC, stomach bug doesn't upset McIlroy'. Print Edition | Subscribe