Hughes leads at Travelers But Mickelson Has Big Day

By Dave Shields

The Travelers Championship is usually full of surprises, like journeyman Ken Duke’s win out of nowhere in 2013 and Chez Reavie’s first win in more than a decade last year. After round one of the 2020 Traveler’s at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., we saw another surprise.

Canadian Mackenzie Hughes came out of nowhere to shoot a blistering 60 Thursday to finish the day with a 3 shot lead at 10-under. If you are wondering who Mackenzie Hughes is, you’re not alone. The 29-year-old Hughes is actually 70th in the Fed Ex Cup standings, finishing 2nds at the Honda Classic back in March. Before that, though, he missed 6 of 7 cuts. He does have a PGA Tour win though – the 2016 RSM Classic. Is he going for No. 2?

The other big story of the day was Phil Mickelson, who showed that he can still go low, shooting a 6-under par 64. Not bad for a 50-year-old. In fact, it was Mickelson’s first professional round as a 50-year-old, having celebrated his birthday on June 16. He did not play last week at the RBC Heritage. But age is just a number for Mickelson.

“I love what I do. I love my job. I love trying to play and compete, and I really enjoy playing with guys like Rory and Bryson who are just tremendous talents and trying to compete with those guys,” Mickelson said, reported the PGA Tour. “I played really some good golf and smart golf, and I played really well today.”

Mickelson is four back, and the two golfers he namechecked, Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau, are both in the hunt. McIlroy is tied with Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hovlund at 7-under, three shots back of Hughes. Mickelson joins a slew of players at 6-under, including Michael Thompson. Tyler Duncan, Louis Oosthuizen, Seung-Yul Noh, and Sergio Garcia. Garcia is playing some good golf, having finished in a tie for third last week at Harbour Town.

The aforementioned DeChambeau was among several players at 5-under, including Russell Henley, Tyler Macumber, Brian Stuard, Sung Kang, and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Among other big names, Jon Rahm finished 4-under, while Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose are 3-under. Three-time winner here Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson ended the day at 1-under. The world’s number 3 ranked golfer, Justin Thomas, had a tough day at 1-over.

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Dave Shields

Biography coming soon!