Canada's Mackenzie Hughes holds narrow lead in Georgia

18 November 2016 12:09

Rookie Mackenzie Hughes shot a flawless nine under par 61 to take a one-shot lead after the opening round of the RSM Classic at Sea Island.

The 25-year-old Canadian, playing in only his ninth US PGA Tour event and without a top-10 finish to his name, carded nine birdies to establish a slender advantage over former Open champion Stewart Cink and fellow American Jonathan Byrd.

Cink hasn't won since pipping Tom Watson in a play-off at Turnberry seven years ago, and revealed his upturn in form has been inspired by his wife Lisa's recent battle with breast cancer.

"I'm just trying to let golf be a piece of my life and not let life be a piece of golf," Cink told

"It grew out of our situation with Lisa where I felt like I had a chance to do some things to just kind of turn myself around.

"The last few years haven't been that great for me productivity-wise on the golf course. So I decided to make some changes and felt like if Lisa can fight, I can fight."

A fine approach to the second left Hughes a tap-in birdie and he holed a 27-foot putt on the next for back-to-back gains.

Hughes drained another lengthy effort on the fifth, got up and down at the long seventh, and holed form 19 feet at the ninth for a fifth birdie and outward 30.

Further gains at the 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th on the way in saw the Tour graduate better his previous best PGA Tour round by seven shots.

England's Greg Owen was the best-placed Brit on four under, with Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and Ireland's Seamus Power a shot further back.

Source: PA