MEXICO CITY – Playing in his first World Golf Championship, his first PGA Tour event in fact, Chris Paisley impressed in his debut, making just a single bogey in his Thursday 65 at the WGC-Mexico Championship to grab a share of second place.
If American audiences aren’t fully briefed on the Englishman, consider that up until this year he wasn’t exactly a household name in Europe. Paisley ranked 289th in the world to start the year but quickly began making a name for himself with a victory at the BMW SA Open in January.
He followed that with fifth-place finishes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the European circuit and now trails Louis Oosthuizen by a shot against a world-class field in Mexico.
Not bad for a player who describes himself on his Twitter account as a “diminutive golfer from Newcastle,” and was nicknamed “Bones” in college because of his stature, which he generously said was 5-foot-9.
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“Someone called me diminutive in a story once. I had no idea what it meant, I had to look it up,” laughed Paisley, who is tied for second place after his opening 65.
Like Tommy Fleetwood last year, who finished second in Mexico to springboard himself to a stellar season, Paisley can elevate his competitive fortunes even more this week. At 82nd in the world, a solid finish in Mexico would move him well inside the top 64 and secure his second WGC start in a few weeks at the Dell Technologies Match Play .
“I’m obviously surprised I’ve gone out and shot 6 under. That’s going to surpass my expectations,” he said. “But I was quietly confident I could have a good day.”