Hughes goes on birdie blitz to grab
lead at Travelers
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[June 26, 2020]
(Reuters) - Canadian Mackenzie
Hughes fired an error free 10-under 60 to take the first-round lead
at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, on Thursday,
putting himself three shots clear of three players including world
number one Rory McIlroy.
Playing the back nine first at the TPC River Highlands, Hughes was
in blistering form as he strung together a run of five straight
birdies from the 14th on his outward nine and picked up four more
after the turn.
He had a long look at a magical 59 but left a 41-foot birdie putt
short at his last.
"I've shot 61 twice in competition, once at Sea Island and once at a
mini-Tour event," Hughes told reporters. "Both times there was an
outside chance the last few holes to shoot 59.
"Kind of similar deal to today where I kind of needed to birdie the
last few holes."
Also a back nine starter, McIlroy got off to a flying start by
rolling in an 11-foot putt for an eagle on the par five 13th and
then followed up with birdies at 14 and 15 to quickly get to
The Northern Irishman's only miscue was a bogey at 16 but he was
error free the rest of the way, piling on four more birdies after
the turn for a seven-under 63.
American Xander Schauffele and Norway's Viktor Hovland, who were
part of the afternoon wave, finished tied with McIlroy after both
carded seven-under 63s.
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Mackenzie Hughes hits from the fairway on the 6th hole during the
first round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC
River Highlands. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Lurking one shot further back is a pack led by Spain's Sergio Garcia
and Phil Mickelson, who recently celebrated his 50th birthday, with
both also enjoying error free starts.
Joining the two major winners at six-under are Americans Tyler
Duncan and Michael Thompson plus South Korea's Noh Seung-yul and
South African Louis Oosthuizen.
Golfers appeared to be taking heed and paying closer attention to
COVID-19 safety protocols after PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan
issued a stern warning on Wednesday following the withdrawal of
Major champions Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell pulled out of the
event after their caddies tested positive for COVID-19 while Cameron
Champ withdrew on Tuesday after testing positive.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto and Rory Carroll in Los
Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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