2022 Mayakoba leaderboard: Will Gordon leads, Viktor Hovland chases in Tech World Championship

The first round of a treacherously good Mayakoba event is in the books, and while the top of the leaderboard doesn’t jump off the page, the strength of the field is just beyond the leaders.

Will Gordon and Russell Henley are Nos. 1-2 atop this board after 62 and 63 respectively in Round 1, but the heavyweights are a few steps back and looking to get to the top on Friday and beyond. Let’s take a look at how Thursday went at Mayakoba.

The leader

1. Will Gordon (-9): Gordon made eight birdies and an eagle en route to the first-round lead. The former Vanderbilt golfer had a strong year on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, racking up six top 10s (including one win) and finishing sixth on the KFT points list. His best PGA Tour finish, however, is a T3 at the 2020 Travelers Championship. After his 62 he said he’s avoiding what he’s tried to do in the past by tempering his expectations.

“I think that’s what I’ve tried to do in the past, but honestly I’m just going to try to enjoy the moment and just keep moving forward,” Gordon said. “I don’t know what the rest of the week holds, nothing’s promised and nothing’s given, so I’ve just got to keep trying to go out there and win it.”

Gordon’s season is off to a great start as he has made the cut in each of the first four events of the year. It was fascinating to hear him discuss what he’s learned and how he’s grown mentally because of the success of those he’s fought at KFT.

“There’s a lot of guys my age and younger that have had a lot of success out here and guys that have been out here and had some big success that I grew up playing with,” Gordon said. “Well … it takes the fear away in a sense because you know you can do it, but you still have to go out there and do it and win it. So it was good to see the KFT class play well this fall and I have saw a lot of those guys, so it was a nice transition this fall.”

Other contenders

2. Russell Henley (-8)

T3. Scott Piercy, Francesco Molinari, Sam Ryder, Harris English (-7)

T7. David Lingmerth, Martin Laird, Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland (-6)

The big dogs hang in there at T7 with Hovland going for his third straight win in this tournament and Scheffler aiming for his fifth PGA Tour win in 2022. They played together on Thursday and shot a career-best 60.

“Most of the time you’re doing your own thing, but it’s nice when you’re on the golf course and you can see other players hitting really good shots,” Scheffler said. “I think that’s a good momentum for the team, when someone starts playing well, the other guys can feed off of that sometimes.”

Hovland’s last nine rounds at Mayakoba looked like this: 67-69-63-65-67-65-62-67-65. That’s an average of 65.6 over the past three seasons, which is absolutely ridiculous. However, Hovland says he can (and should) play better than he did Thursday.

“I think the last two years I’ve started 4-under and 5-under (He was 4-under in the first round of both wins), so he’s even improved on that,” Hovland said. “Obviously I hit some shots and holed out of the bunker. I did a lot of good things today, but at the same time I felt like I hit some really bad shots. So I feel like there’s still room for improvement.”

Where is Morikawa?

I’m not going to worry about Collin Morikawa (or any top 10 player in the world) in early November of any year. However, he shot a 71 on Thursday and is currently T90. If he finishes outside the top 25 (which looks like a possibility right now), that would make it three straight events to start his season without a top 25 appearance. It’s something worth watching.

2022 Mayakoba odds, picks

  • Scotty Scheffler: 6-1
  • Viktor Hovland: 13/2
  • Russell Henley: 9-1
  • Will Gordon: 14-1
  • Harris English: 18-1
  • Maverick McNeely: 18-1
  • Tom Hodge: 22-1
  • Francesco Molinari: 22-1

It’s a very interesting board right now. Scheffler is a little too short for my liking, though I love Hovland at 2/13. Hoge at 22-1 speaks my language. I’ve been riding the Hoge train for weeks now and it can’t stop scoring in the mid 60’s. He is one of the best iron players in the world that no one knows. The value here is probably with Tony Finau — who was my pre-tournament pick — at 35-1. They are 3 down and just four back in third. That’s nothing for a scorer like Big Tone in a place like Mayakoba, and I believe he shook off any 1st round rust.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *