Travelers Championship: Rory McIlroy in contention as Mackenzie Hughes misses 59

Rory McIlroy tees off at the seventh hole during Thursday’s first round
-10 M Hughes (Can); -7 M McIlroy (NI), X Schauffele (US), V Hovland (Nor); -6 M Thompson (US), P Mickelson (US), T Duncan (US), S Garcia (Spa), S-Y Noh (SKor), L Oosthuizen (SA)
Selected: -4 S Lowry (Ire); -3 J Spieth (US), J Rose (Eng), I Poulter (Eng); -2 D Willett (Eng); -1 D Johnson (US)

Mackenzie Hughes narrowly missed out on a round of 59 and world number one Rory McIlroy recorded an impressive seven-under 63 as the pair set the pace at the Travelers Championship.

Canadian Hughes’ putt at the last fell short after a 10-under par round of 60 that contained 10 birdies.

McIlroy, Northern Ireland’s four-time major winner, carded an eagle, six birdies and a bogey for his 63.

American Xander Schauffele and Norway’s Viktor Hovland, 22, also both shot 63.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia of Spain are among a host of players a further shot back on six-under par.

The event went ahead despite three individuals testing positive for coronavirus.

Cameron Champ, Graeme McDowell’s caddie Ken Comboy and Brooks Koepka’s caddie Ricky Elliott have the virus and withdrew from the tournament in Cromwell, Connecticut.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the news acted as “stark reminder” to comply with safety measures.

McIlroy defended the decision to go ahead with the event.

He said “I thought Jay did a wonderful job yesterday, just relaying the information and where the PGA Tour stands and where we’re going forward.

“You hear one or two positive tests and people are panicking. I saw a couple of calls to shut the tournament down, which is silly from my point of view.

“There’s been almost 3,000 tests administered and the percentage of positive tests, it’s a quarter of a percent. I think, as a whole, it has been going really well. There’s a couple of loose ends that we needed to tidy up.”

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