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Chris Paisley steps out of the shadows in Mexico City

England’s Chris Paisley may not have been deemed worthy of a profile picture on the tournament website, but his name featured proudly on top of the leaderboard during the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship.Paisley was ranked 289th in the world at the end of 2017, but won his maiden European Tour title in the BMW SA …

England’s Chris Paisley may not have been deemed worthy of a profile picture on the tournament website, but his name featured proudly on top of the leaderboard during the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Paisley was ranked 289th in the world at the end of 2017, but won his maiden European Tour title in the BMW SA Open in January and followed that up with fifth-place finishes in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

That secured his World Golf Championship debut in Mexico City via the top 10 on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and the 31-year-old from Hexham was making the most of his opportunity in an elite 64-man field competing for a winner’s cheque for £1.2million from a prize fund of £7.2million.

Paisley birdied the first, second, fifth and sixth holes to reach the turn in 31 at Chapultepec Golf Club,  a par-71 layout which measures 7,330 yards but whose highest point is more than 7,800 feet above sea level.

And another birdie on the 10th gave him a share of the lead on five under par with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, a shot ahead of Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and American Tony Finau.

World number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson was two under alongside Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler, but last year’s runner-up and European number one Tommy Fleetwood was two over par after nine holes.

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