Mackenzie Hughes birdies last 2 holes to catch Thomas Detry for share of lead at Sanderson Farms Championship

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JACKSON, Miss. Mackenzie Hughes thought that he was likely to be selected for the Presidents Cup due to his putting ability. His game was strong enough to get him to a 9-under score of 63 on Friday, and a share in the Sanderson Farms Championship lead.

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

They were at 10-under134, one shot ahead Sepp Straka (66).

Hughes finished last year at No. Hughes finished last year at No. 39 in the world. However, he fell enough this year to have to rely on a captains choice for the Presidents Cup matches in Charlotte North Carolina, where Hughes currently lives.

Hughes didnt conceal his disappointment after his round on Friday. Trevor Immelman took Taylor Pendrith, a Canadian, as his last pick. Pendrith missed four months due to injury. Immelman mentioned Pendriths strength as a good fit to Quail Hollow.

Hughes has been ranked amongst the top 15 for putting on tours in each of the past three years.

Hughes stated that Hughes thought a good putter would do well in this format. Hughes said, But thats not my job to decide if its a good fit. I use it as fuel. I want to have a great year and Im off on a good start.

It hurt but thats how it goes sometimes in this game. Ill put in a lot of effort to be on that team in Montreal in two years.

Detrys goal for next year is to play in the Ryder Cup in Rome. The 29-year old Belgian native is a rookie to the PGA Tour, but he has played on the European tour before and won the World Cup at Australia four years back with his friend Thomas Pieters.

He was also carried by his putter on Country Club of Jacksons pure greens, where he made three birdie putsts of 20 feet or more in the second round.

Detry said, Ive only made 240ft of putts over the last two days so that helps. I have missed a few short putts, but it doesnt matter. The putter is great. Its been great.

He is also slightly more rested. Detry was eligible for Korn Ferry Tour Finals one year ago but decided to stay in Europe. A decision that he later regretted. He was again eligible and received his PGA Tour card in three-tournament series.

But he did manage to log some serious miles.

He was able to get his card and flew to London for Wentworths BMW PGA Championship. After Wentworth, he flew across eight time zones to begin the PGA Tour season in California. He had at least one week off.

Detry will not have access to every tournament if he gets his card through Korn Ferry Tour. His priority may change every few months depending upon how he performs.

He said, Obviously you dont get in every event so you kinda have to take your chances at the first one you get into. You need to put as many points as possible on the board as soon you can. Thats what I did.

He tied for fifth place at Wentworth and was tied for 12th at Fortinet Championship. He will be entering the weekend in Mississippi tied to Hughes.

Straka, an Austrian-born native who won the Honda Classic this season for his first PGA Tour championship, birdied five of the seven holes he played. He had the opportunity to play alongside the co-leaders. He missed a quick 6-footer up the hill on 17th, and a birdie-putt from 20 feet on 18th.

Mark Hubbard (69), Garrick higgo (66), and Scott Stallings (67) were two shots behind. Mississippi native Davis Riley managed to shoot a 71 in morning and was three shots behind Nick Hardy, Detrys close friend from college at Illinois.

Sam Burns, the champion in defense, had a 68. This was five shots back.

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