JACKSON, Miss. – If the first two days were any indication, fans are in for a treat come the weekend at the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship.
Friday’s second-round action from The Country Club of Jackson was filled with tons of low scores. Players are positioning themselves for a run at the trophy in the second PGA Tour event of the 2022-23 season. Emiliano Grillo shot 7-under, and one of his best shots of the day came after he threw his club.
There’s a duo tied at the top, but six golfers are within two shots of the lead. There are 10 within three shots.
Here’s a look at five things to know from the second round of the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Mackenzie Hughes goes low
The round of the day belonged to Mackenzie Hughes.
The 31-year-old Canadian birdied his first three holes and four of his first five, going out in 5-under 31. He continued his strong play on the back, making birdies on holes 12, 15 and 17 and 18 to card a 9-under 63. He’s tied for the lead at 10-under 134. The 63 is also the lowest round of the week by two shots.
Hughes said he recently changed coaches, and they have been working a lot on his full swing. He said after he started off so quickly and didn’t have to worry about making the cut, it freed him up to be aggressive.
Hughes has played the Sanderson Farms Championship twice, his best finish coming in 2016 with a tie for 26th. If he plays this weekend like he did Friday, he could be hoisting his second PGA Tour trophy come Sunday.
“It’s important to get off to a good start, and I think especially given the round I had yesterday, I was kind of stuck in neutral and didn’t get much going, so to get that fast start kind of felt like, ‘OK, I’m making my way up the leaderboard,’ and you can kind of put the cut line out of your mind a little bit and kind of push forward,” Hughes said. “The great start was a huge bonus and got me rolling.”
Mackenzie Hughes watches his approach shot from the 18th fairway on the second day of the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson on Friday, September 30, 2002, in Jackson, Miss. (Photo: Chris Todd/Special to Clarion Ledger)
Thomas Detry tied for lead, Straka one back
Thomas Detry is making his mark known in his second start as a PGA Tour member.
He has played in numerous Tour events and has been a member of the DP World Tour, but he earned his card through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and is now looking to strike quickly.
Detry shot consecutive rounds of 5-under 67 to sit at 10 under, tied with Hughes for the 36-hole lead. He had three birdies in four holes to begin his back nine on Nos. 1, 2 and 4, and he made five straight pars to close his round.
“(My) putting has been really nice. I’ve made only 240 feet of putts the last two days, so that helps,” Detry said. “It’s been really good. I drove it beautifully well yesterday. Today, I struggled a little bit.”
Sepp Straka, who won the 2022 Honda Classic, is in third at 9 under. He shot 6-under 66 in the second round, which included five birdies on the back nine, to follow up his 3-under 69 on Thursday.
Before his consecutive rounds in the 60s to open this week, Straka had never broken 70 in four missed cuts at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
“I didn’t really know what to expect this week,” Straka said. “I took a couple weeks off after the Tour Championship and didn’t really know where my game was and just tried to kind of find it here this week. Thankfully, after kind of a rough first nine yesterday, it’s been pretty nice.”
Sepp Straka hits his approach shot from the 18th fairway on the second day of the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson on Friday, September 30, 2022, in Jackson, Miss.
(Photo: Chris Todd/Special to Clarion Ledger)
A tip from fiancé helps Nick Hardy
Before the start of the Sanderson Farms Championship, Nick Hardy got two tips.
The first was from his caddie about his driver. The second was about his irons. From his fiancé, Liz.
“She’s a golfer herself, so she gets the game,” Hardy said. “She kind of knows my tendencies. There were just a couple things that I tend to do, and sometimes I need reminders. Mainly about width in the golf swing and not using my hands to pull down and just keep the width through the body. That’s really the gist of it.”
The tips must be paying off. Hardy shot 5-under 67 on Friday and is at 7 under for the tournament in a tie for seventh.
Sparking Sam Burns
Local favorite Sam Burns, who won the 2021 Sanderson Farms Championship, had an electric ending to his round.
His tee shot on the par-4 ninth hole rose up and hit a power line that runs above the course, kicking it down. He dropped his head in disgust and fans surrounding the ninth tee box all gasped when they realized what happened.
It was something he said had never happened to him before.
“It would have felt better if I would have hit a bad one, but I hit a perfect one,” Burns said. “Then I hit the next one in the left rough, so that kind of stunk, but it is what it is. I know they’re there; there’s always a possibility you can hit them, I guess.”
He immediately re-teed his ball and hit again.
Burns ended up making par on the hole, sliding his birdie putt past the cup on the right side. He shot 3 under in the second round and sits at 5 under for the tournament.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 30, 2022
Air Force graduate makes first cut as Tour member
Kyle Westmoreland made history earlier this month when he became the first Air Force graduate to earn a PGA Tour card.
On Friday, he made his first cut since becoming a Tour member.
Westmoreland played spectacular on Friday, firing a round of 5-under 67. He eagled the par-5 11th, his second hole of the day, and made two more birdies on 13 and 14 to make the turn in 3 under. After a bogey on No. 1, he responded with consecutive birdies and sits at 6 under for the tournament.
Kyle Westmoreland plays his shot from the fourth tee during the Sanderson Farms Championship at The Country Club of Jackson on September 29, 2022 in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)