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Thomas Detry signed for a second consecutive 5-under 67 to earn a share of the lead of the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship heading into the weekend. A PGA Tour rookie in name only, Detry sits at 10 under alongside Mackenzie Hughes who fired a 9-under 63 on Friday to push his name back into contention.
Securing some status on the PGA Tour late last summer courtesy of a T4 finish at the Boise Open in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, Detry has been in the midst of quality golf for quite some time. His success in Idaho was on the heels of a top-10 finish at the Scottish Open and followed by a top-five result at the DP World Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship.
Since taking his talents to the PGA Tour, Detry has kicked off his rookie season without a hitch in spite of his extensive travel schedule. The 29-year-old impressed at the Fortinet Championship with a T12 result and looks well on his way to improving on his efforts in Napa.
Playing in Europe the past six seasons, Detry is inexplicably without a professional victory since his Challenge Tour days in 2016. Experiencing a number of close calls, perhaps the change of scenery, location and tour will allow him to finally enter the winner’s circle.
Hoping this is not the case are a number of his chasers including his co-leader Hughes. Reigning Honda Classic champion Sepp Straka also appears to be up for the challenge as he arrived in Jackson, Mississippi, fresh off a scorching hot FedEx Cup Playoffs. The Austrian is alone in third and a couple strokes ahead of hometown hero Davis Riley who grabbed a share of the first-round lead and now stands at 7 under after a so-so second round.
1. Thomas Detry and Mackenzie Hughes (-10):
More than 150 starts removed from his lone victory on the PGA Tour, Hughes is positioned perfectly at the halfway point to end this winless drought. The Canadian experienced a middling 2021-22 season that featured only three top-10 finishes, and after missing out on the Presidents Cup in his own neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina, the motivation to play well has never been higher with sights on the 2024 competition in his home country.
“Yeah, I watched [the Presidents Cup]. I had some family in town that week, so we didn’t make it out, but I watched and was keeping tabs on the boys and pulling like heck for them to pull it out,” Hughes said. “It was motivating for sure. I wanted to be there really badly, and it was something I had kind of marked on my calendar for the last year and a half. Once I knew it was coming to Charlotte, that was — I wanted to be on that team. It hurt, but that’s the way it goes in this game sometimes. I’ll work hard to be on that team in two years in Montreal.”
3. Sepp Straka (-9)
T4. Mark Hubbard, Garrick Higgo, Scott Stallings (-8)
T7. Davis Riley, Nick Hardy, Stephan Jaeger (-7)
Mississippi’s Riley is still in this tournament after 36 holes. After commanding a share of the first-round lead with a 6-under 66, Riley stalled on Friday with a 1-under 71. Describing this week as “one of the worst driving weeks I’ve had so far in a long time,” the local kid has gotten the job done in spite of the big stick. More than capable of wielding this club effectively, if able to right the wrongs from the first two days over the weekend, Riley will have a real chance to nab his first victory on the PGA Tour in his own backyard.
“It would mean the world to have a chance to win this golf tournament,” Riley said. “But like I was saying (Thursday), there’s a lot of work to be done. Yeah, the game is in a good spot. I didn’t score and do things quite as well as I did (Thursday), but I’m still doing a lot of things good. I just need to take a tweak or two here or there and get ready to go again (Saturday).”
Only six rounds into the 2022-23, Emiliano Grillo may already have the best reaction to any shot this season. Channeling his inner Hideki Matsuyama or even Mark Hubbard at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the Argentinian was disgusted with his tee shot on the par-3 13th.
In lieu of the casual club drop, Grillo went a step further and flung his club into the high grass only for his ball to settle 11 feet from the pin. While his birdie effort ultimately slid by, Grillo signed for a bogey-free 7-under 65 and sits four strokes off the lead.
Grillo with an all timer… This is more egregious than any Hideki reaction!
@NoLayingUp @TronCarterNLU pic.twitter.com/yvrFF76WyP
My CBS Sports colleague Kyle Porter pegged first-round leader Riley as a and I can’t help but look ahead to Rome next fall. Instead of discussing the U.S. side, it is the backend of the European Team which I find extremely intriguing and could make or break its efforts to recapture the cup.
Both Detry and Straka should have a realistic opportunity to garner a selection from Captain Luke Donald if they continue to play in this manner for the foreseeable future. While hardly on the minds of the Europeans as they head into the weekend in Jackson with a chance to win, I am sure somewhere Donald is taking notes.
The easy pick is Burns who sits at 5 under and only five strokes back despite losing more than two strokes on the greens through the first two rounds. Ranking second in strokes gained tee-to-green, conventional wisdom suggests a putter like Burns should be able to figure things out moving forward.
Personally, I love Straka ‘s chances to raise his second trophy in less than a year, but the number is a smidge short for my taste. If not interested in either Straka or Burns, rookie Taylor Montgomery (-4) at 60-1 is a worthwhile option.
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