A perfectly judged approach helps Mackenzie Hughes move two clear at -5 #TheOpen
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 15, 2021
Mackenzie Hughes got a little help from his friends as he finished the first round of the Open Championship on Thursday with a four under 66 at Royal St. George’s.
That left Hughes in a tie for fourth, two shots behind leader Louis Oosthuizen after playing in a group with Brian Harman and Dylan Frittelli. Harman is tied for second after firing a 65, while Frittelli matched Hughes’ 66 and is T4 as well.
“Walking off 17 I thought, `Wow, this is quite the group.’ We were all four under and Brian birdied the last,” said Hughes.
“it was easier to get going because of the guys in my group that were playing well and just kind of feeding off each other. Fun day,” added Hughes, who will have the same faces around him when he tees off Friday in the second round at 2:37 p.m. local time.
Hughes had three consecutive birdies between the fourth and sixth holes on Thursday and added two more on 10 and 12 before his one bogey of the day at the 15th hole.
“I got off to a nice start, lots of good shots. hitting a of lot fairways, which around here, you hit a bunch of fairways it’s making your life a lot easier,” he said.
“Yeah, I just felt good from the get-go, had nice control of the golf ball. I had a playing partner in Brian Harman that got off to a really hot start and I think that kind of helped me get my mindset in the right place with trying to make some birdies and knowing they were out there if you hit some good shots,” said Hughes.
“All in all, it was a great day, not maybe the finish I would’ve liked, but all in all, if you told me I was going to shoot four under, I would’ve taken it in a heartbeat,” he said.
Corey Conners is tied for 19th after he opened with a 68.
“I saw Mac played a good round early on this morning. Yeah, Canadians are playing well, so it’s exciting to see. It definitely motivated me to try and have a good round, as well,” said Conners.
“The key for my round was patience, have a really good game plan. I feel like I learned a lot in my prep throughout the golf course, kind of where you want to try and hit it, where you want to try and avoid. I was patient, committed to my shots and pretty happy with the round,” he said.
Conners had two birdies in his first four holes before a double bogey on five put him back to even par. A birdie on six allowed him to make the turn at one under. As the round progressed, he noticed the wind getting progressively stronger.
“It was pretty windy from the get-go, but it definitely was really blowing through the middle of the round, made things challenging, but fortunately, I was ready for it,” said Conners.
“The golf course definitely played tougher. The wind was certainly howling. You had to really be in control of your ball or you could get into some trouble,” he said.
Adam Hadwin and Richard T. Lee are both tied for 137th after each opened with a 75.
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