Rookie Hughes leads RSM Classic with 61

Rookie Mackenzie Hughes of Canada flirted with breaking 60 before settling for a bogey-free, 9-under-par 61 to lead Stewart Cink and Jonathan Byrd by one stroke after the first round of the RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort in Sea Island, Ga.

Hughes, a Web.com Tour graduate who will be 26 next week, had nine birdies and no bogeys in his first 15 holes on the Seaside Course before finishing with three straight pars.

“It was one of those days where everything was kind of clicking and was going right,” said Hughes, who is playing in his fifth event as a PGA Tour member after claiming his two pro victories in the 2013 Cape Breton Celtic Classic on the PGA Tour Canada and the 2016 Price Cutter Charity Championship on the Web.com Tour.

“Toward the end there, I had a chance to shoot 59 and I was thinking about it, but came up a couple short. But it was a great day. … I found a good thought on the range this morning, and it just kind of clicked from there.”

Cink, 43, whose six PGA Tour victories include the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry, made his only bogey on the ninth hole while finishing his 62 on the Seaside Course, where Byrd had five birdies in a span of seven holes while also finishing on the front nine.

Cameron Tringale of Laguna Niguel, Kyle Stanley and Hiroshi Iwata of Japan shot 7-under-par 65s on the Plantation Course and were tied for fourth with Blayne Barber, who had a 7-under 63 on the Seaside Course.

Kevin Chapppell of Fresno and UCLA, Michael Kim of Cal and Del Mar, Jim Furyk, Hudson Swafford, Steven Alker of New Zealand and Andrew Romero of Argentina posted 6-under 64s on the Seaside Course. They were tied for eighth with Will Mackenzie, Chad Campbell, Josh Teater, Brandt Snedeker, Chen Tsung Pan of Taiwan, Kevin Tway, Johnson Wagner, Tyler Aldridge and Camilo Villegas of Colombia, who posted 6-under 66s on the Plantation Course.

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