3 things you should know from the first round of the Travelers Championship

Mackenzie Hughes

Mackenzie Hughes hits his tee shot on the 18th hole at TPC River Highlands on Thursday.

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A flirtation with 59. A flock close behind. Phil. Here are three things you should know after Thursday’s first round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. 

Mackenzie Hughes leads 

Mackenzie Hughes, starting on 10, birdied 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 for an opening-nine score of 6-under 29, then birdied 2, 6, 7 and 8 on his second nine for a 10-under 60 and a three-stroke lead after the first round. Hughes had a 40-foot putt for a 59 on the 9th hole, but he two-putted for par. 

Hughes would have had to shoot 58 to tie the course, set by Jim Furyk in 2016.

“I kind of joked walking off there that 59 wasn’t even the record because Jim’s 58. I mean, it’s probably not even that special around here,” Hughes said of shooting 59. “But for a personal milestone, it would have been really, really neat. You just don’t get very many chances in your life to do it.”  

The big names

As the third tournament after the PGA Tour’s three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus, the Travelers attracted many of the world’s best, and many were among the top of the leaderboard. 

Three shots behind Hughes were world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hovland. Six golfers were four shots behind, including Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, and Bryson DeChambeau was among the six golfers five shots back. 

In all, 125 of the 156 players shot par or better. 

Nifty Ph-ifty

In his first round since turning 50 last week, Phil Mickelson shot a bogey-free, 6-under 64. Mickelson, teeing off 10, birdied 13, 14 and 18, then tacked on birdies on 2, 3 and 9.

Mickelson played with McIlroy and DeChambeau, and the pairing was a combined 18-under.

“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. “Rory has got one of the most beautiful golf swings this game has ever seen, and Bryson has got a unique style of playing that is fascinating, and he plays at the highest level. I enjoy kind of watching and learning, but I also enjoy trying to play my game and compete regardless of age.”  

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor