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June 6, 2019

Mackenzie Hughes

Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Q. Very familiar with Hamilton Golf Club. I know you've played here a bunch. Grow up nearby. You ave one bad hole and 17 great ones. How do you compartmentalize that?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, if I had doubled the first and shot a 66 it would've been -- it would've felt okay, but dinner won't taste as good tonight.

But I played awesome. One lapse of concentration on 18 and hit a bad tee shot and compounded the mistake.

All in all it was really solid. Just stings a little bit.

Q. I thought there was a big cheer on 13 when you put on the Kawhi Leonard jersey, and on 16, you encore there, take us through that tee shot.
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, I think it was 198 adjusted and 7-iron; wind off the left. Right away looked really good.

Then I couldn't really get a feel for the crowd there up on the tee. I couldn't tell if it was in. At the end they were going pretty loud there, and so they kind of misled me there a little bit.

But I was happy they were excited. That was a pretty sweet shot.

Q. That it was in, didn't you?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: I thought it was just given their reaction, how was it getting louder and louder and louder and kind of erupted. But, yeah, it was a sweet shot and nice birdie.

Q. Is it an added level of comfort having friends and family around you this week or added pressure?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: It's comfort. I definitely feel people spurring me on and people are saying, Do it for Canada. I'm just trying to play some good golf. If I do that, then I like my chances.

It's just a long four days, so just got to be patient and come out tomorrow firing.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, it was really fun. Just again kind of just spoiled it there at the end. You know, I was 6-under through 17 and it was pretty stress-free for the most part. I really didn't putt that great. Made a few -- made a couple 12-, 15-footers, but from a 20-foot range I couldn't get a putt to the hole. It was really solid; felt comfortable.

Yeah, all in all it's a great day score-wise. Just not the way I wanted to finish.

Q. Does it help that you're going right back out early tomorrow morning? Maybe a little bit less time to stew over 18.
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, you know what? I have to be over it now. There are three rounds of golf to be played. Standing on the first tee if you told me I would shoot 4-under, doesn't take you out of the tournament. 4-under is a good start. Try and pick up where I left off tomorrow.

Q. Based on your reaction, did you think 16 was in?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, I couldn't get a feel for the crowd because they kind of cheered like it might have been a hole in one. I couldn't quite tell. Looked like it was really close and I couldn't see it over the hill. I'm like, Is that in? Is that in? No, it's just short.

Q. What did you learn about yourself on the 18th hole there?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Nothing really. Just bad hole. Didn't learn anything there. Just need to be a little more focused and put that ball in the fairway.

Q. When did the idea for the Kawhi jersey come to fruition there?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Probably a couple weeks ago. Last week I thought Raps are having an incredible run. Normally I'd rock the Leafs' jersey, but I thought given that Toronto, the Raptors are on this run, I thought it would be cool to support them.

Q. What was that moment like that for you as you pulled on that jersey? I was right there, and it took a second for the fans to recognize what was happening, and then suddenly they were really into it.
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, I try and have some fun with that hole. Life is short, so whatever. I'm just going to have some fun. The crowd enjoys that stuff, so it's fun for me to do. Fun for me to support Toronto sports teams in general. I love all the Toronto sports teams, Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays. Just a fun way to show my Toronto and Canada pride. It's fun.

Q. Was it surreal to be walking up the fairway and hear people chant, Let's go Raptors at a golf tournament?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, it was cool. I heard that going and I was hoping they would keep going and get loud. Yeah, got to rally behind the Raptors right now. Really exciting time in Toronto.

Q. Has the golf course changed much now versus when you played it a lot growing up, or how would you assess the golf course in 2019 versus when you played in the past?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: I wouldn't say it's a whole lot different. I just feel like for me personally seems like I'm hitting way different shots off the tees. I just remember on certain holes, like No.4, the par-5, when I was younger it was really big drive to get up on top of that hill.

So with my game maturing a bit, I just feel like the course plays different. When you're driving it well, which I did for most of the day, you give yourself a fair number of scoring opportunities.

Q. Do you hear the fans?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: You know, the galleries aren't big enough where you're like -- it's just white noise. You definitely hear the one-offs or comments here and there.

I have a fair number of family and friends out there, so I definitely hear almost everything they do say. It's fun. It's great. I just try and have fun with it.

It's probably different like when I play with Tiger. You don't hear it quite as much because it's just absolute chaos. Everyone is screaming.

When it's a little bit smaller crowd you definitely hear the one-offs here and there. It's fun. I just try and enjoy it.

Q. Nick and Adam went out early and both had good rounds. Did you see those numbers and get more energized by their success this morning?
MACKENZIE HUGHES: Yeah, I don't know if it was necessarily energized. I think I had plenty of energy teeing off this afternoon.

Looking at the board it assured me there were some scores to be had. So that I think changed the mindset a little bit from the getgo. Put the ball in the fairway and then need to attack. I did that for the most part.

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