Durant leads down Mexico way

Joe Durant birdied five of the last eight holes to grab a one-stroke lead in Thursday’s 1st round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Joe Durant birdied five of the last eight holes for a 7-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in Thursday’s first round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

The 45-yea-old American, a four-time Tour winner, played the front nine in this PGA Tour event catering for those golfers who didn’t qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship, in 2 under, then, after the turn, birdied the 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th and 17th holes for a back-nine 30 on the Mayakoba Resort’s par 71 Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course.

“I would much rather have a good start than go in the opposite direction, that’s for sure,” Durant said. “I just felt comfortable out there today. Obviously, we have a long way to go, but having a good first round can set a nice tone for you the rest of the week. I just need to keep doing the same things and keep myself in the hunt.”

Cameron Beckman, Briny Baird, Jarrod Lyle and JP Hayes all shot 65s to share second place while Tom Pernice Jr., Jason Gore, Jeff Maggert and Thomas Levet poateds 66s to be two shots off the pace

John Daly carded a 68, and David Duval, who had a good second place finish at Pebble Beach last week, and defending champion Mark Wilson both shot 71s to be welkl down in the big pack massed behind Durant.

Lyle, an Australian who tied for sixth last year for his best career finish on the US Tour to date and currently shares second place, also found the course to his liking.

“I guess it’s the kind of course that suits me pretty well,” he said. “It’s windy and I’ve grown up in wind. And I drive it pretty straight,. It’s the kind of golf course if you don’t drive it straight you’re going to find a lot of trouble.”

Jose Trauwitz, with a 1-over 72, was the best of the four Mexican players in the field.