WGC-Mexico Championship: Chris Paisley one shot behind Louis Oosthuizen

England's Chris Paisley
Paisley has climbed up 200 places to 82nd in the world rankings this year
WGC-Mexico Championship first round
-7 L Oosthuizen (SA); -6 C Paisley (Eng), X Schauffele (US), S Sharma (Ind); -5 R Cabrera Bello (Spa), K Aphibarnrat (Tha); -4 J Rahm (Spa)
Selected others: -3 S Garcia (Spa) R Fowler (US); -2 D Johnson (US), B Watson (US), P Mickelson (US); -1 T Hatton (Eng); Even M Fitzpatrick (Eng), R Fisher (Eng), J Rose (Eng); +1 T Fleetwood (Eng); +2 P Casey (Eng)
Full leaderboard

England's Chris Paisley is a shot off the lead as he continued his excellent recent form on the opening day of the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Paisley carded a six-under 65 for a three-way tie of second place, behind overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen.

Paisley had holed four birdies by the sixth, adding three more after the turn before dropping his only shot on 16.

The 31-year-old from Northumbria was ranked 289th in the world at the end of 2017, but has climbed into the top 100.

"It's somewhat surreal," he said. "I've generally not been that good off the tee. This last year I've started hitting it longer and straighter. And I'm just getting more experienced, and gaining confidence."

Paisley won his maiden European Tour title at the South African Open in January, following it up with fifth-placed finishes in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

It means he is currently in the top 10 of the European Tour's Race to Dubai, which secured his World Golf Championship debut in Mexico City this week.

Forty-five of the world's top 50 players are in the 64-man field competing for a prize fund of £7.2m and winner's cheque of £1.2m.

Defending WGC-Mexico champion Dustin Johnson shot a two-under par round of 69 on the opening day, and Paisley, who is playing in his first WGC event, said he is not fazed by being in such notable company.

"I was actually surprised by how many guys I knew," he said. "Obviously going into a WGC is a new event, new experience, I didn't really know what to expect.

"But I know all the European guys, and there's a lot of guys around my age that I played with in college like Brian Harman and Patton Kizzire, all those guys that I haven't seen for a long time.

"I knew them so I didn't feel over-awed this week.

"I think with the form I've had, and the kind of confidence I've got in my game, I was just more excited to see what I could do against them."

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