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04 March 2018, 01:53 | Susie Olson
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Three players sit just one behind Oosthuizen on six-under-par - Chris Paisley of England, American Xander Schauffele and India's Shubhankar Sharma.
Phil Mickelson, who won the event in 2009, will tee off with plenty of confidence as he has earned top-10 finishes in each of his last three starts, including a share of second place at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Dustin Johnson was not the model of consistency that Oosthuizen and Paisley were, though he didn't knock himself out of contention with a two-under 69 after 18 holes.
Paisley birdied his opening hole at the par-71 layout, which is more than 7,500 feet above sea level at its highest point, before draining a 30-footer at the second and posting back-to-back gains from the fifth.
World No. 2 Jon Rahm of Spain is well within striking distance at 4-under after a round that featured six birdies and two bogeys. "I've been hitting it really good over the past three or four weeks". "When I did have good looks, I made them, which definitely kept my score at least respectable".
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa stands at the head of affairs after shooting a scintillating 64 but is closely followed by a group of exciting young players hoping to capture their maiden WCG event.
"It's the biggest tournament I've played in by a long stretch", Paisley said.
"I gave myself a lot of chances but they're tough greens to putt on and to hole as many putts as I did, I'm delighted".
Thomas, who is fresh off his eighth Tour victory last week at the Honda Classic, couldn't say the same thing. I didn't want to come here and just be happy to be part of it and make up the numbers.
But for him to defend his title, he will have to fight off every top 50 player except for Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, and Brooks Koepka, making it as deep a field as one will find ahead of the Masters.
Sharma, who like Paisley is making his first Tour start and at this point past year was plying his trade on the Asian Tour, had no such problems with his swing or Chapultepec and was a flawless 6-for-6 in scrambling on his way to a 65.
Chris Paisley might need to win the WGC-Mexico Championship before he gets his due recognition.
Oosthuizen has won just once on the PGA Tour, claiming the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrew's.
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