JACKSON, Ms. (AP) — Mackenzie Hughes thinks she has a chance to be selected for the President’s Cup because of her nipples. His playing strength helped take him to 9-under 63 on Friday and share the lead in the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Hughes birdied his final two holes at the Country Club of Jackson to catch Belgium’s Thomas Detry, who played early in the morning for a 67th straight.
They are at 10-under 134, one shot ahead of Sepp Straka (66).
Hughes finished last year at No. 39 in the world, but Canada has slipped enough this year that he will have to rely on picking a captain for the President’s Cup game in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Hughes now lives.
He was ignored and Hughes did not hide his disappointment when asked about it after Friday’s round. Trevor Immelman used his final pick on another Canadian, Taylor Pendrith, who has been out for four months with an injury this summer. Immelman cites Pendrith’s powers as a match for Quail Hollow.
Hughes has been in the top 15 touring for the past three years.
“I think a good putter would do well in that format,” Hughes said. “But it’s not up to me to decide if I’m a good fit. I only use it as fuel. I want to have a great season and I’m off to a great start.
“It hurts, but that’s how it happens in this game sometimes,” he said. “I will work hard to be in that team in two years in Montreal.”
Detry’s goal is to be in Rome next year for the Ryder Cup. The 29-year-old from Belgium is a PGA Tour rookie, although he has experience on the European tour and won the World Cup in Australia four years ago with close friend Thomas Pieters.
He was also carried by his putter on pristine gridiron at the Country Club of Jackson, making three birdie putts 20 feet or more in the second round.
“I’ve only putts 240 feet in the last two days, so that helps,” said Detry. “Although I missed some short ones, but that’s fine. I can’t complain about putters. It’s been very good.”
He also rested a little more. Detry qualified for the Korn Ferry Tour Finals a year ago and chose to stay in Europe, a decision he later regretted. He qualified again and earned his PGA Tour card in a three-tournament series.
But he logged some serious miles along the way.
His card was safe, he flew to London for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the flagship event of the European tour, and then flew across eight time zones to kick off the PGA Tour season in California. At least he was off last week.
Getting his card through the Korn Ferry Tour means Detry won’t have access to every tournament, and his priorities will change every few months depending on how the fare is.
“You obviously don’t get into every event, so you have to take chances on the first event you go to,” he said. “You have to try to get the points on the board as quickly as possible, and that’s what I did.”
He’s tied for fifth at Wentworth and tied for 12th at the Fortinet Championships, and he’s gone into the weekend in Mississippi tied with Hughes, so it’s a solid start.
Straka, the Austrian native who won this year’s Honda Classic for his first PGA Tour title, birdied five of his last seven holes. He had the opportunity to join the co-leader. He missed a quick 6-foot downhill on the 17th and a birdie putt from 20 feet on the 18th.
Mark Hubbard (69), Garrick Higgo (66) and Scott Stallings (67) trailed by two shots, while Mississippi’s Davis Riley scored 71 in the morning and is in the group three shots behind with Nick Hardy, a close friend. Detry. from their college years in Illinois.
Defending champion Sam Burns has 68 and is very much in the mix, just five shots back.
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