Hughes birdies last 2 holes to catch Detry in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mackenzie Hughes thought he had a chance to be picked for the Presidents Cup because of his putting. The strength of his game helped carry him to a 9-under 63 on Friday and a share of the lead in the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Hughes birdied his last two holes at the Country Club of Jackson to catch Thomas Detry of Belgium, who played in the morning and had a second straight 67.

They were at 10-under 134, one shot ahead of Sepp Straka (66).

Hughes ended last year at No. 39 in the world, but the Canadian slipped enough this year that he needed to rely on a captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup matches in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Hughes now lives.

He was overlooked and Hughes didn’t hide the disappointment when asked about it after his round Friday. Trevor Immelman used his last pick on another Canadian, Taylor Pendrith, who missed four months with an injury this summer. Immelman cited Pendrith’s power being a good fit for Quail Hollow.

Hughes has been ranked among the top 15 in putting on tour each of the last three years.

“I thought a good putter would have done well in that format,” Hughes said. “But that’s not for me to decide if I’m a good fit. I just use it as fuel. I want to have a great season and I’m off to a nice start.

“It hurt, but that’s the way it goes in this game sometimes,” he said. “I’ll work hard to be on that team in two years in Montreal.”

Detry’s objective is to be in Rome next year for the Ryder Cup. The 29-year-old from Belgium is a PGA Tour rookie, though he has been seasoned on the European tour and won the World Cup in Australia four years ago with close friend Thomas Pieters.

He also was carried by his putter on the pure greens at the Country Club of Jackson, making three birdie putts of 20 feet or longer in the second round.


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