Thursday’s first round at the WGC Mexico couldn’t have started better for Bubba Watson.
Watson, winner in Los Angeles two weeks ago, was tamale-hot as he made his way around the Chapultepec Golf Club. He started on the back nine and five birdies later, made the turn in just 31 shots.
Bubba birdied the first hole then hit a totally amazing drive on the 387-yard second. He took it up and over the trees, cut the dogleg and landed his tee shot on the green, leaving himself just 18 feet for an eagle two that would have got him to eight-under par through 11 holes. The putt for eagle barely missed and an easy tap-in had the two-time Masters champion seven-under par through 11 holes.
The “59” watch was on.
Then golf happened.
As hot as Bubba was, things started to unravel — suddenly.
At the par three third, his 12th of the day, his tee shot was just long in the back fringe, his chip got away from him and rolled eight feet past the hole. He missed the par putt and suddenly, momentum headed for the nearest concession stand.
At the par four fourth, Watson’s tee shot found the woods right. He punched out into the fairway then hit a seriously lousy approach from 97 yards out to the back of the green. He left himself 65 away and three-putted from there for double-bogey six.
The “59” watch was officially over.
The final nine bleeding didn’t stop there, however. Bubba’s bumbling continued on the next hole. After driving it in the fairway, he had just 105 yards in. He hit sand wedge to 10 feet and three-putted from there. Just for good measure, he missed the green at the sixth, wound up short in a greenside bunker and took three to get it down — another bogey.
Watson had gone from seven-under and leading all the way back to two-under, tied for 13th at 69 with Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and seven others.
Watson’s bad stretch left him five behind first-round leader Louie Oosthuizen.