Matt Kuchar decided at the last minute to play the Mayakoba Golf Classic and has made it look like a wise decision with a seven-under 64 for a share of the lead with Dominic Bozzelli and PGA Tour rookie Kramer Hickok.
Kuchar, who's gone more than four years since his last victory on the PGA Tour, missed only two fairways at El Camaleon on Thursday and was bogey-free for his lowest opening round since a 64 in the 2017 Phoenix Open.
"It's an amazing resort, Mayakoba. So to be able to bring the family to enjoy some vacation time, it's a bit of a working vacation," said Kuchar, who will be one of the star attractions at the Australian Open in Sydney next week and the World Cup in Melbourne the week after.
"I had a good time at the office, as well."
Most players did, with more than half the 132-man field in the 60s.
Jordan Spieth was not among them. Playing his second straight week in the autumn – and his last tournament before his wedding – Spieth traded birdies and bogeys and had to settle for an even-par 71, leaving him in need to a good round on Friday just to stick around for the weekend.
One of his former roommates had no such issues.
Hickok also played golf at the University of Texas and lived with Spieth in Dallas until a few months ago, when all the roommates had to find other arrangements as Spieth prepares for his marriage to Annie Verret.
RIGHT: Kuchar is tied for the lead after the opening round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic. PHOTO: Rob Carr/Getty Images.
Among those in the large group at 65 was Abraham Ancer, whose tie for fourth last week in Las Vegas moved him to No.98 in the world, making him the first Mexican golfer to crack the top 100 in the world rankings.
Also at 65 were Bud Cauley as he returns from a car accident at the Memorial in early June, defending champion Patton Kizzire, who made back-to-back eagles on the par-5 5th hole and by holing out on the par-4 6th, and Sydneysider Matt Jones.
Rickie Fowler was among those at 66.
Kuchar has slipped to No.40 in the world, failed to reach the third round of the FedExCup playoffs for the first time in a decade and didn't play in the Ryder Cup for the first time in 10 years.
He still keeps upbeat on and off the golf course and decided while in Las Vegas (a tie for 57th) to play Mayakoba.