PGA Tour: Mackenzie Hughes has career round on Thursday

Mackenzie Hughes grabbed the lead in the Travelers Championship on Thursday on the PGA Tour

At this week’s PGA Tour event, the Travelers Championship, a number of the world’s top players are in the field. But after 18 holes of play, MacKenzie Hughes is the surprise leader after firing a career round on Thursday.

Hughes, a native of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is in his fourth year on the PGA Tour but he’s never had a round like the one he did on Thursday. Playing at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, Hughes fired a 10-under par 60, flirting with the magical 59 right until the end of his round.

The 29-year-old started his round on the back side and it didn’t take him long to get started. After a par on number 10, he birdied the 11th hole.

Two more pars followed before Hughes got on a roll. He birdied the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th holes to shoot a 6-under par 29 on the back side.

As he moved to the front nine, Hughes’ assault on par continued

He parred number one before recording a birdie on the second hole. He then parred the third, fourth and fifth holes to stay at 7-under par.

Hughes then went on another hot streak, notching birdies on the sixth, seventh and eighth holes to move to 10-under par. Coming to the ninth hole, he had a shot at a 59.

On his final hole, Hughes hit his drive into the left rough, and his approach shot left him about 40 feet from the hole. Still, he had a putt for 59. However, he missed and ran in his par putt to shoot a career-best 60.

Hughes is well clear of the field after 18 holes. He leads Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hovland by three shots after one round of play.

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A winner of one PGA Tour event, the 2017 RSM Classic, Hughes is ahead of a field that includes eight of the world’s top 10 players. It will be interesting to see how he handles being the leader in Friday’s round.

Hughes, who currently ranks 70th in the FedEx Cup standings, hopes to take advantage of his lead and, in an ideal world, build on it. That doesn’t seem likely, but no one expected Hughes to do what he did on Thursday, either.

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