Mackenzie Hughes had the best round of his professional career Thursday morning, but in his mind it’s still not the best he’s ever played.
The Canadian shot an opening round 10-under 60 at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship, making 10 birdies and no bogeys to top Rory McIlroy by three shots among the round’s early finishers.
“I’ve probably had more like meaningful rounds of say 65 or 66, but as far as going low and how I felt about the game, it’s definitely probably top five,” Hughes told reporters over a remote news conference.
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Hughes, from Dundas, Ont., had a chance to shoot the 12th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history, but missed a 40-foot putt for birdie on hole No. 9, his 18th hole of the day.
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., is the only Canadian to shoot under 60, carding a round of 59 at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge.
Hughes did defeat his previous best round on the tour, however, a 61 in the first round of the RSM Classic in November 2016. He went on to conquer that tournament in a five-way playoff after shooting a fourth-round 69 at Sea Island Golf Club.
Hughes alluded to his previous best at the RSM Classic, saying that he learned a lot from that experience and how to carry the momentum into later rounds.
“Really the mentality tomorrow is to go out there and make a bunch of birdies again,” said Hughes, who said he intended to have a brief afternoon round of practice before relaxing. “The golf course is kind of yielding some scores, and in order to be there on Sunday, I’ll have to keep making birdies.”
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Hughes’ bogey-free round included a 30-foot birdie putt on his second-to-last hole, the par-3 eighth. Patrick Cantlay also shot 60 at TPC River Highlands as an amateur in 2011.