(Reuters) – Rickie Fowler made a solid start to his season by carding a bogey-free, six-under-par 65 on Thursday that left him three shots back of leader Patton Kizzire after the first round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
The world number 10, making his first start since the Presidents Cup, flashed midseason form at the El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico with a round that was bettered only by Kizzire (62) and Vaughn Taylor (64).
“It was nice, I got off to a solid start,” said Fowler, the highest ranked player in the field. “Always nice to go bogey-free. Always nice to start the year that way.”
Fowler, who arrived at Mayakoba on Saturday but did not touch a club until Tuesday as he enjoyed the resort’s beach and other facilities, started on the back nine where he made three consecutive pars before picking up shots on three of the next four holes.
After a steady string of pars the 28-year-old, who typically starts his season in Asia, finished strong with three birdies over his final four holes.
But the day belonged to Kizzire, who despite a bogey at the last managed to card his career low round by one shot.
It also extended what has been a good early-season run for the 31-year-old, who tied for fourth at last week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and finished tied for 10th at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Two-times U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen carded a 66 that left him in a group of six sharing fifth place.
The 48-year-old South African looked more like the player that earned seven PGA Tour titles rather than the one that has struggled to put together a string of good results.
His last win on the Tour came back in 2009.
Defending champion Pat Perez was five shots off the lead in a share of 11th after mixing seven birdies with three bogeys for a four-under-par 67.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto)