Toms gets fast start in Mexico

David Toms, without a win in five years, shot a 1st-round, lead-sharing 5-under 66 at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico.

David Toms, seeking his first PGA Tour victory in more than five years, shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday to grab a share of the first-round lead at the US PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

This on a cool, cloudy day with the wind gusting up to 25 mph on the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course on the Caribbean coast.

“Overall it was just a good day. I kept the ball in play and picked my spots when to be aggressive,” said the 44-year-old Toms, who is tied for the lead with Andres Gonzales, Mark Hensby and Kyle Stanley.

The defending champion Cameron Beckman posted a 4-under 67 to be a shot further back in a tie with Kent Jones, Briny Baird, Chris Tidland, Alexandre Rocha and Sunghoon Kang.

But Aaron Baddeley, the Northern Trust Open winner last week at Riviera, and the Bob Hope Classic champion, Jhonattan Vegas, both carded disappointing 74s.

Toms, a former US PGA Champion, but without a victory since the Sony Open in Hawaii in January 2006, had five birdies and a bogey on the way to making the turn at 4 under, dropped a shot on the 11th but then roared home with birdies on the 16th and 18th holes.

“You can take a run at your putts, especially in the 10 or 15-foot range, you don’t have to worry about knocking them too far by. I think guys were probably pretty aggressive on the greens.”

Beckman said he had found it “tough out there”.

“The winds were blowing harder than they were yesterday. A lot of the shots, the crosswind shots were tricky out there, especially into the wind. We were hitting a lot of club, hitting 5-irons 170 yards.”

Beckman has broken 70 in nine of his last 10 rounds in the event.

“Just being here in Cancun, well, Riviera Maya, it’s just an awesome place to be,” Beckman said. “I get great feelings being here. Staying at the resort, it’s a beautiful place to stay, very comfortable, and I love playing the golf course.”

Gonzales, a PGA TOUR rookie who missed the cuts in his first two starts of the season, played the back nine in 5-under 30. The former UNLV player birdied 11, eagled the par-5 13th and birdied the final two holes.

“The wind was very consistent. It was consistently strong. It never really let down,” Gonzales said. You had to concentrate a lot out there. You had to pay attention to every shot out there, including putts.”