Richey leads in suspended first round at El Bosque Mexico Championship by INNOVA
February 27, 2020
By Sean Wildhack, PGATOUR.COM
- February 27, 2020
- Richey fired an opening-round 65 to take the first-round lead in Mexico. (Kevin Prise/PGATOUR.COM)
LEON, GTO, Mexico — Brian Richey carded a 7-under 65 to claim the lead as play was suspended due to darkness at the El Bosque Mexico Championship by INNOVA. Mark Hensby sits alone in second after a 6-under 66. Will Cannon sits two strokes off the lead after an opening-round 5-under 67.
Beginning on the back nine, Richey caught fire early in his round with birdies on his first four holes. The 33-year-old added a birdie on his ninth hole to make the turn at 5-under.
“I just got off to an amazing start,” Richey said. “Getting off to a good start kind of relaxed me a little bit. I hit a couple of good drives. I made one long putt on No. 12 and the others were in that 6- to 8-foot range and I made three of those.”
Richey continued his solid play into his second nine. He converted birdies on Nos. 2, 5 and 6 to reach 8-under on the round. Despite a bogey on the final hole, he sits atop the leaderboard at 7-under 65.
“It was nice to just settle in,” he said. “I took the mindset today to be as even-keel as possible. I certainly didn’t hit every shot perfect, but I didn’t really get myself into too much trouble.”
After finishing the 2019 season 80th in The 25, Richey had conditional status and was unsure of how many starts he would get to begin the 2020 season. Having made 79 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, he knows how far a good finish this week can go.
“I’ve been in this position before and I don’t know the right answer,” he said. “There’s been times where I’ve felt I tried too hard to make something happen. Sometimes you have to take a step back, relax and play golf. I know I will get more starts this year. It may not be a ton, but I can’t really control that. I’m just trying to not really think about it and play solid golf.”
Mark Hensby sits alone in second after a first-round 6-under 66. Like Richey, Hensby got off to a hot start with birdies on six of his first eight holes. The 48-year-old used a par on No. 18 to make the turn at 6-under.
“I got off to a hot start, I was 6-under through eight and actually laughing at myself,” Hensby said. “Everything just seemed like it was pretty easy.”
After a bogey on the par-5 first, he rebounded with par on his next six holes to remain at 5-under. Hensby added a birdie on the par-5 eighth to reach six under for the round and finish the round one stroke off the lead.
“I two-putted my first hole for birdie and then hit it close a couple of times, he said. “I wasn’t hitting it far away, but I was just making putts that I haven’t made in a long time.”
Hensby is making his second Korn Ferry Tour start this season and the 181st start of his career. The Australian has won three times on the Korn Ferry Tour with his most recent victory coming at the 2003 Henrico County Open.
Alone in third is Will Cannon at 5-under 67. The 26-year-old carded six birdies against one bogey during Thursday’s opening round. Cannon is making his tournament debut in Mexico. At an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet, El Bosque Country Club provides players a stern test.
“It was a little different at first,” Cannon said of the adjustments. “Earlier in the week, I really had to work on getting the ball higher in the air. Having three days to prepare out here was really crucial.”
Play was suspended at 7:05 p.m. CST due to darkness with three groups still on the course. The first round will resume at 8:15 a.m. CST with the second round beginning at 7:05 a.m. CST.