Champ grabs the lead at the Mayakoba Classic

Rex Christensen
November 11, 2018

"I was just flowing, I just kind of felt in the zone, really".

Two weeks after winning the Sanderson Farms Championship in MS, he worked on a few tweaks in his swing and was in full control of where the ball was going.

Top-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn, who started the day with a four-stroke lead, sits one shot back after a 1-under 71.

Kuchar, looking for his first worldwide win since 2015, played exceptionally well on the front nine, with five straight birdies at one point.

Jordan Spieth was likely done for the year.

Kuchar said accurate driving had been the key to his lowest opening score in almost two years.

Champ - already a victor on the PGA Tour season - had set the early clubhouse target after firing a round-of-the-day 62, with defending champion Patton Kizzire one of six players a further shot back in tied-third.

"It's not a bomber's course", Champ said.

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After an even par 71 on Thursday he had four birdies and two bogeys in a two-under 69 that wasn't enough to see him through to the weekend.

"I knew Sybi was in the crowd, I knew she had caddied for me before and was friendly with Zach Johnson, and figured she would be good to handle it, and Zach would go easy on her". "You have to place it off the tee, and some holes the rough is very thick and you've just got to whack it out".

"Just to be able to place my ball right in the fairways and on the greens and make the putts when I needed is great", he said.

The cut was at four-under 138.

Hickock, a buddy of three-time major victor Jordan Spieth, is playing in just his eighth PGA Tour event and his fourth this season after spending past year on the developmental Web.com tour, where he won the DAP Championship and had five other top-10 finishes. Spieth managed only eight birdies in good scoring conditions and will have the weekend off for the seventh time this year. He's only two shots behind Kuchar.

Kuchar, Hickok and Bozzelli led by one stroke from 15 players including India's Anirban Lahiri and defending champion Patton Kizzire, the latter's cause helped by the first consecutive eagles on the PGA Tour since June.

Park Sung Hyun shot a 67 and fellow South Korean Kim Sei Young had a 68 to put them both within five strokes of the lead.

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