8am Round-Up: Lee Westwood enjoys eightsome reel in Mexico

Lee Westwood on his way to a four-under 67 in the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship. Picture: Getty Images

Lee Westwood on his way to a four-under 67 in the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship. Picture: Getty Images

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Edinburgh-based Lee Westwood surprised himself by making eight birdies as he earned a share of a six-way tie for the lead after the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The impressive birdie haul helped the 43-year-old Englishman card an opening four-under-par 67 at Chapultepec Golf Club to set the pace along with Ross Fisher, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker, Jon Rahm and Ryan Moore.

Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia are a shot further back but sole Scot Russell Knox had to settle for a two-over 73 after carding two double-bogeys.

Westwood was two clear with two to play before finishing with a brace of bogeys but the former world No 1 was still pleased with his day’s work.

“I didn’t expect to go out there and make eight birdies,” he said. “I didn’t think this was that kind of golf course where there were that many birdies on offer.

“But I hit the ball really well. I hit a lot of fairways, which you need to do, while the the ball’s going ridiculous distances at this altitude.”

Fisher described his performance as “pretty flawless” while Rahm’s eye-catching effort came in his first outing since he took out European Tour membership for the 2017 season.

“I only had two mistakes, a three-putt on the first and then a short putt I missed on 11,” said the rising Spanish star, who won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines earlier this year.

“But, aside from that, it was a very comfortable day. I played really well and my short game was really good.”

On his return from a rib injury, McIlroy overcame a stomach complaint to make a pleasing start, the highlight of which was rolling in a 30-foot eagle putt at the sixth, his 15th.

“The rib is fine. It’s great actually,” said the world No 3. “I’m just a bit weak - I didn’t get much sleep last night and haven’t eaten since breakfast.”

On a day when Open champion Henrik Stenson withdrew with a reported stomach virus midway through his round, Knox made four birdies but also had those two double-bogeys as well as two bogeys.

Playing with McIlroy, world No 1 Dustin Johnson signed for a 70, which included driving out bounds and taking a 6 at the first, his 10th hole.

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Scott Jamieson was challenging for the lead in today’s second round of the Tshwane Open in Pretoria.

Two off the overnight lead after an opening 67, the Glaswegian had moved to seven-under for the event after picking up birdies at the fifth, sixth and eighth.

The burst left him sitting second, two shots behind Alexander Bjork after the Swede, one of three players to open with 65s, was also three-under for the day.

Jamieson’s sole European Tour success so far came in South Africa, winning the weather-curtailed Nelson Mandela Championship in 2013.

Scott Henry, the other Scot in the morning wave for the second round, was one-over after 12, dropping him to three-under overall.

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Former world No 1 Inbee Park jumped into the lead at the halfway stage in the HSBC Women’s Champions event in Singapore today.

The Korean star posted a second successive 67 at Sentosa Golf Club to sit on 10-under, one ahead of compatriot Mi Jung Hur (67), overnight leader Michelle Wie (69) and world No 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (68).

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen (67) is a shot further back while Scottish No 1 Catriona Matthew jumped 11 spots to joint-31st, sitting on two-under after a second-round 69.

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Scotland retained the team title but handed the initiative to the host nation in the battle for the main prize heading into the final round of the African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek.

It was mission accomplished on the team front as a quartet comprising of Connor Syme, Liam Johnston, Craig Ross and Craig Howie emerged triumphant over the first three days, beating a South African junior side by two shots.

The quality of golf played by both the top two teams at the European Tour venue in Mpumalanga was illustrated by the fact the third-placed side, England, finished 22 shots behind the Scots.

The battle for the individual title is set for a thrilling finish and could also still end up in Scottish hands, with both Syme and Johnston just two shots behind the leader, newly-crowned SA Amateur champion Christo Lamprecht.

One behind the home player overnight, Syme had forged into a two-shot lead after covering the opening 11 holes in four-under before dropping shot at 12 then finishing double bogey-bogey.

However, the Drumoig player is still right in the hunt in his bid to add this title to an Australian Amateur Championship victory just over a year ago.

Johnston also dropped a shot at the last but, likewise, the Dumfries & County player is in the mix for what would be the biggest success of his career, having also given a good account of himself when reaching the last eight in the SA Amateur a week ago.

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Balmore’s Christopher Maclean swept into the match-play phase of the Spanish Amateur Championship as the leading qualifier at El Saler.

He carded an excellent three-under-par 69 in the second round for a 143 total, claiming top spot by a shot from Ireland’s Stuart Grehan.

Maclean’s first-round opponent today is Welshman Jack Davidson.

Maclean was the sole Scot to progress after Haggs Castle’s Barry Hume (75-77) and Glencruitten’s Robert MacIntyre (77-78) failed to make the top 32 as the cut-off fell at 151, seven-over.

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Scottish No 1 Hannah McCook fell four shots short of qualifying for the match-play stage in the Spanish Ladies’ Amateur Championship Sherry Golf Jerez.

The Grantown-on-Spey player carded a second-round 74 but had left herself with a mountain to climb to make the top 32 after an opening 81.

It was a similar strory for Shannon McWilliam (82-75) while Gabrielle Macdonald struggled to rounds of 84 and 81.

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In his first outing since winning the Dimension Data Pro-Am in South Africa, Paul Lawrie claimed another victory.

It came in the North-East Alliance at Fraserburgh, where he shot a five-under 65 to finish a shot ahead of his nephew, Sean Lawrie.

Paul’s oldest son, Craig, finished third alongside Greig Hutcheon on a leaderboard dominateed by Paul Lawrie Golf Centre players.

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Tour player Jamie McLeary won the East Alliance event at Uphall with a two-under-par 67 at the West Lothian venue.

He finished a shot ahead of Cameron Adam (Harburn), Chris Curran (Bathgate) and Chris Morris (Kingsknowe).

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Edzell amateur Gary Tough battled the wind at Anstruther to claim top spot in the Midland Golfers’ Alliance with a 68.

The Fife venue’s notorious short fifth hole clamed a few victims, with one player running up a 17!

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A final-round 74 left Kylie Henry having to settle for 12th spot in the Sun International Challenge at Sun City, where home player Ashleigh Simon claimed the title.

Henry finished on level-par 216, 10 shots behind Simon as the South African won her sixth Sunshine Ladies Tour triumph.

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