Mackenzie Hughes put on a shot-making display in the second round of the CJ Cup at the Summit on Friday. The Dundas, Ont., product fired a round of 10-under par 62, rising 48 spots on the leaderboard and into a tie for eighth.
The round equalled his lowest score in relation to par in his PGA Tour career, equalled by a 60 on a par-70 course he recorded at the 2020 Travelers Championship. It was also one off the course record at The Summit, the lavish Las Vegas, Nev., course that is playing host to the tournament this week.
“I hit it nicely today,” said Hughes. “I drove the ball well and hit it in the fairway a lot and when you’re on grass on these desert courses it’s a big advantage.”
He landed on 11 of 14 fairways and that allowed him to attack the greens. He hit 10 approach shots inside 15 feet, seven of which were closer than 10 feet. He was also good with the putter but said there was still room for improvement in that area.
“I was happy with my putting and I made all the ones that I should have made,” he said. “But I didn’t get any bonus putts.”
One almost came on the final hole, a 588-yard par 5, where he reached the green in two. He had a 69-foot putt remaining and rolled just past the edge of the cup, leaving him two feet for his eighth birdie of the day.
Hughes’s overall play was considerably better than the opening round when he posted a score of 71. His Strokes Gained: Total number went from -2.051 to 6.244, an indication of just how good his second round was.
The two-round total of 11 under left Hughes, the only Canadian in the limited-field event, in a tie for eighth, still seven shots back of the lead held by Keith Mitchell.
Mitchell fired a round of 62 on Thursday and followed that up with a 64 on Friday, setting a 36-hole scoring record for the tournament.
“You see the scores out there and you know there are low ones,” Hughes stated. “You just have to keep the pedal down and keep going.”
This is just the second start of the new season for Hughes who played the Sanderson Farms Championship two weeks ago. He admitted he came into this week without a firm idea of the status of his game.
“It’s hard to know where you’re at after the layoff and just one start,” he admitted. “I had some rust at Sanderson Farms but today I was feeling like my old self. It was good start to finish.”