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June 7, 2019

Mackenzie Hughes

Oakville, Ontario, Canada

MACKENZIE HUGHES: (In progress.) For sure. They were totally different days. Yesterday was really smooth sailing for 17 holes and one hiccup.

Today was hard fought. Lots of great up and downs; five, six footers for par. I was working hard today, but probably more satisfying than yesterday's round.

Q. Closing birdie. How does that change the mindset now? I know it's only one shot, but to get ready for Saturday.
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, they all count just the same. I got a peek at the board coming up 9 and kind of saw Snedeker at 10. I thought getting that one extra one might be nice to get closer and stay within reach. Hopefully I'm within three or four.

Yeah, feel good.

Q. Two quick ones before we let you go. Probably been asked this all week. You've played more golf here than anybody else. Are you going back in the memory at all going around here thinking of competitive golf as a junior or an amateur?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: I wouldn't say I'm going to those memories because I don't think I remember as a teenager breaking par very often here.

But the familiarity with lines and certain tee shots and just the property in itself is nice.

I think just that comfort alone is kind of what's been nice this week. You ask a lot guys about playing on a course they've played a lot, and it can be harder at times because everyone expects more of you, all that sort of the stuff.

But I felt like this course set up well for me when I knew we were coming here. And, yeah, just need to do two more days like that.

Q. If the Raptors win the title, how long before the Leafs do it for us?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: I'm really keen on the Raptor's chances in this series. They're playing great basketball. They've really controlled the series minus one quarter.

To answer your question, I'm not sure about the Leafs, but I hope they're going to follow behind shortly after.

Q. 66; what are you doing particularly well this week?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: You know, both rounds were quite different. Yesterday I struck the ball great and never really had much stress for par; lots of greens.

Today I don't think I hit very many greens but I was able to get up and down. Made a lot of five, six footers for par. That was big to keep momentum going and stay bogey-free today.

But I think more than anything just been able to limit the mistakes. When I have made mistakes, missed it in the right spot.

Q. Tell us about your history with this golf course. You come from this area.
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, so when I was a teenager, 15, 16 range when I first came out here for the first time and I met my first golf coach, Scott Couch (phonetic) out here, a teaching professional out here.

So I would play on the weekends here every now and then. Probably I want to say 30, 40, 50 times, somewhere in that range. So I've played a fair number of rounds out here and feel quite comfortable.

Q. Obviously family, friends, local people out there cheering for you. Are you able to feed off that?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, definitely. I've been trying to embraces that the last few Canadian Opens. You know you're playing with a bit of extra expectation and pressure, but if you kind of embrace that and use it as a positive then it can kind of work in your favor.

I felt like everyone is kind of pulling me along, and that's been nice to have.

Q. Thoughts on the opportunity you'll have over this weekend to kind of end Canada's long wait for a home champion.
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, I'm excited. It's why you practice and why you play. You want to be in those pressure-packed opportunities and moments.

It's going to be tough. I'm going to need to play some great golf over the next 36 holes, and we're a long way from done. We're off to a nice start. Hopefully keep going.

Yeah, it was a lot different than yesterday. I didn't feel as comfortable with kind of everything. I thought everything just felt okay today, which kind of sounds weird. If you look at the stats it would vindicate what I just said.

I missed more greens; had to make a few more five-footers for par today. So to go bogey-free and kind of bounce back after finishing on a sour note yesterday it's a big boost of confidence. Just kind of reaffirms I'm doing the right things. Fun weekend ahead.

Q. (Regarding the 18th hole in round one.) Sounded easy, but how long did it take you last night to do that?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: You know, when I left the course I was completely done with it. I told myself leaving the course that over the course of 72 holes everyone was going to have their one or two mistakes they really want to have back. I got mine out of the way in the first round.

It wasn't like -- didn't take me out of the tournament that mistake, so I was able to sleep a little better knowing that if I play four more rounds like that or around that kind of score I'm going to have a chance.

Leaving the course yesterday I was totally good with it. Just trying to remember the first 17 holes.

Q. How exciting is it for you now to be in this position here in this tournament high on the leaderboard going into the weekend?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, very exciting. You know, it's a long way from home. We're still 36 holes to go. Hopefully I'm within a few going into the weekend. Depends what Keegan does in the afternoon. Hopefully doesn't go 7-under again. Hopefully stay within shouting distance and see if I can make some noise on the weekend.

Q. I notice some of fans have masks of your face. How do you feel about that? I feel like that would be weird.
MACKENZIE HUGHES: It's definitely odd. I can thank my wife for that one. She ordered those. No one to blame but my other half. Those are fun. It's all good. It's all just part of this whole playing ten minutes from home deal.

It's fun. Just trying to embrace it all.

Q. How is the course playing compared to yesterday?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: A little bit different. A little bit different wind direction today, and 18 new pin locations, so...

It was different. I mean, it was the same because the wind really wasn't blowing too strong, but coming in there 9 is in off or left versus yesterday in off the right. Very small, minor details.

Yeah, it's still gettable. If you put it in the fairway you have a chance to attack. If you're in the rough, I mean, you have a lot of work ahead you.

Q. Is it faster at all?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: A little bit faster, but it's still receptive. I mean, few drives that I thought were going to miss the fairway from myself and other guys in my group, some of those drives just hang on the edge of the fairway, and hopefully this afternoon and this weekend keeps drying out.

Q. When you're in the position you are now and you're done early, do you spend a lot of time watching the leaderboard or wake up tomorrow and see what it's looking like?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: I'll probably check it a little later on. Not going to watch any golf this afternoon. Try and get away from that, do a little practice, and try and clean up some things and go hang out with my family and friends at my sister's house by the pool. Yeah, just go relax and hang out with my family.

Not much leaderboard watching because I can't really do anything at this point. My fingers can't knock people up and down, so I'll just hang out.

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