Hughes edges clear in Sea Island


Canadian rookie Mackenzie Hughes took a two-shot lead at the US PGA Tour’s RSM Classic in Georgia after following up his spectacular opening round with a five-under-par 67.

Hughes, playing in only his ninth event on the tour, had lit up the first round with a superb 61 on Sea Island’s par-70 Seaside Course to start the day one stroke clear of the field.

The 25-year-old swapped to the par-72 Plantation Course on Friday and was quickly back in the groove, hitting three birdies over the front nine before adding two more after the turn.

Hughes stands at 14 under after 36 holes heading into the weekend, two clear of Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-Tsung, another rookie, who shot a 64 on the Seaside Course to back up his opening round of 66.

“Today was definitely a little more work,” a satisfied Hughes said after his round.

That is “no slouch of a score and I would take two more of those in a heartbeat,” he added.

Both Hughes and Pan are rookies on the US PGA Tour after playing on the Tour.

Pan is looking forward to dueling with Hughes over the weekend.

“It should be fun,” Pan said. “It’s exciting to see both of us play well out there because it’s a dream come true for both of us.”

Four players — Hudson Swafford, Blayne Barber, Chad Campbell and Chesson Hadley — were tied for third on 11 under.

Jonathan Byrd, who finished the opening round with a 62 on the Seaside Course, carded a two-under-par 70 to remain in the hunt at 10 under along with nine other players, including Billy Horschel and Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata.

Behind that pack were a cluster of nine players tied for 17th including Jim Furyk and 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink on nine under.

With benign conditions perfect for low scoring, the cut came at a five-under-par, leaving the likes of Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Ernie Els, Davis Love III and Vijay Singh all out of the weekend action.

© 2016 AFP

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