Rookie Hughes rockets into RSM lead with 61


ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Mackenzie Hughes’ season has not exactly been the normal rookie experience.

In his first start as a PGA Tour member last month at the Safeway Open, he carded four rounds in the 60s and tied for 13th. In four starts, he's missed just one cut and is currently 55th on the FedEx Cup points list.

So it should have been little surprise when he scorched the Seaside Course with a 9-under 61 to take the first-round lead at the RSM Classic.

Hughes birdied two of his first three holes, turned at 5 under and finished his day bogey-free to take a one-stroke lead over Steward Cink and Jonathan Byrd.

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“I found a good thought on the range this morning and it kind of clicked from there,” said Hughes, who hit 14 of 14 fairways on Thursday and missed just three greens in regulation. “I actually didn't hit it that great yesterday and this morning I woke up and found a little something on the range and went with it.”

Hughes admitted he started thinking about shooting 59 early in his round, but failed to birdie any of his final three holes.

“You have to kind of temper those thoughts and expectations,” he said. “But I played really well so I knew thinking about it wasn't really going to hinder me too much, I just wanted to be aggressive and give the putts a chance to go in.”