Paul Dunne fired two birdies in his last four holes to rescue his round on day one of the World Golf Championship in Mexico.
Dunne’s driver proved to be the nemesis of his opening round as the Greystones golfer found just three fairways en route to a hard-fought two-over-par 73.
Starting from the 10th, Dunne suffered three bogeys over his opening five holes as errand tee shots proved costly over the brutally tight Club de Golf Chapultepec.
It all very nearly changed on the 16th, Paul’s 7th hole of the day however. 137 yards out, he hit a towering short iron over the flag that looked for all the world that it would spin back in dead centre, but for it to agonisingly lip out, leaving a tap in three.
The normally reliable and accurate British Master champion continued to struggle thereafter, posting two more bogeys on his inward half before his brave finish salvaged the day. On the bright side, Dunne’s made a habit of starting fast and blowing out by day four this year. Maybe this reverse will pay dividends come Sunday.
At the summit, Louis Oosthuizen is the man to catch after he opened with a bogey-free seven-under-par 64 on day one that included an eagle and five birdies.
The South African looked at home in the Mexican altitude and set up by his ultra-reliable driver, managed hit some fine approaches in a stunningly satisfying round of golf.
“I’m very confident with my driver at the moment,” he said. “I had a nice little cut going with it, just aiming it a little left and just swing away.
“I’ve been swinging it pretty good the last three, four weeks. Felt I played really well last week, just got caught in the Bear Trap a little bit.
“But yeah, I’m hitting it well and just need to do the same tomorrow. You know, the greens can be a little bumpy at the end of the day, but I hit a few really close.”
Chris Paisley, 31, who in 2009 played for Great Britain and Ireland against Rickie Fowler in the Walker Cup, needed just 23 putts and topped the leaderboard for much of the day before a late bogey gave him an opening-round 65, good enough for second spot.
The Englishman played with Tommy Fleetwood on that team and it looks as though a change in mentality sparked by his friend’s success has been the catalyst for this sudden surge up the leaderboard.
“Obviously, he’s done better than I have,” said Paisley. “Tyrell Hatton also took off. And Matt Fitzpatrick. Those guys are really good players, and I see myself as maybe not quite as good, but I thought if they’re doing that well, then I should be doing better than what I am.”
India’s Shubhankar Sharma came in with the same score after a brief lightning delay, as did last year’s Rookie of the Year, Xander Schauffele.