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Hughes seizes lead

MIAMI (AFP) — Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes fired a scintillating nine-under-par 63 to grab a share of the lead Friday at the PGA Tour’s Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi.

Hughes opened a superb second round at the Country Club of Jackson with three straight birdies and never looked back in a flawless bogey-free outing.

The 31-year-old journeyman from Ontario closed with back-to-back birdies on the 17th and 18th holes to move to 10 under for the tournament alongside Belgium’s Thomas Detry.

Detry shot a five-under 67 to move to the top of the leaderboard.

Hughes attributed a change of coach and hard work in the gym for his sparkling form.

“I started with a new coach a couple weeks ago and working on a couple small things which have been kind of showing on the golf course, and I’ve been putting in a lot of work in the gym, so that’s been showing up as well,” Hughes said.

“Just a combination of a few different things, but been working hard at it, and it’s always nice when you put in hard work and you get some good results.”

The 29-year-old Detry meanwhile said a simplified approach this week has paid dividends, the Belgian practicing sparingly before the tournament.

“I’ve kept it really simple. I haven’t really hit a shot — last week I was completely resting,” Detry said.

“I’ve hit balls for like 15 minutes on the range on Tuesday, and I was hitting it well, so that’s all I have to do really.

“Work on pace a little bit, but my putting has been decent.”

Detry and Hughes head into the third round one stroke clear of Austria’s Sepp Straka, who moved into contention with a six-under-par 66.

Mark Hubbard, Scott Stallings and South Africa’s Garrick Higgo are tied in fourth on eight under, two off the lead.

Davis Riley, Nick Hardy and Germany’s Stephan Jaeger are tied on seven under.

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