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Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes shares lead with four others at Valspar Championship | CBC Sports

Stewart Cink made a great escape from the pine wood on an improbable birdie and had a 4-under 67 that gave him a five-way share of the lead in the Valspar Championship on Friday and a chance to win the second tournament to think in sequence.

For Cink there is only one difference. The golf course is much longer. And the guys he’s trying to beat are a lot younger.

The 50-year-old Cink, who lost his chance to win the PGA Tour Champions with a back-nine collapse two weeks ago, appeared stable on a day with gusts of 50 miles per hour in the morning and some wind in the afternoon, but nothing close the bad weather expected in Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Florida.

He was tied at 6-under 136 with Hamilton’s Mackenzie Hughes (68), Kevin Streelman (72), Tour rookie Chandler Phillips (68) and Brendon Todd (69).

WATCH l Canada’s Hughes is tied for the lead, Svensson is 2 shots behind:

Hughes is tied for the lead with Svensson two shots behind in the Valspar Championship

Dundas, Ontario native Mackenzie Hughes is tied for the lead with four other golfers in the Valspar Championship, whose second round was interrupted due to darkness. Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., is two shots behind the leader at 4 under.

“There’s a reason so many players rave about this course,” Cink said. “It takes everything, and so far this week I’ve done everything pretty well.”

Each had to deal with different conditions, but Streelman and Phillips had the hardest time at the end of the draw, with wind bending pine branches and breaking pant legs. At least it was going in one direction, not the eerie, swirling nature of the afternoon.

“This place is tough even in good weather,” Streelman said.

Justin Thomas was close to joining the tree trunk at the top until a hard shot in the bunker saw him miss the 18th green on the right and bogey for a 69, leaving him one shot behind the group, which also included Lucas Glover (69).

“I think we were very lucky with the weather,” Thomas said. “I know these guys had a lot of wind this morning, we had some this afternoon too, it was just really gusty and that made the coaster a big challenge.”

He said he lost focus on his 8-iron starting on the 18th fairway — “a bad time to hit the worst shot of the tournament so far,” he said — but had none before the weekend at the Copperhead course Complaints about his position.

The cut won’t be officially announced until Saturday morning because about a dozen players didn’t finish before dark, but one thing was clear – this tournament was completely open. Only six shots separated the players who shared the lead from the players who made the cut on the number.

Rest of the Canadian contingent

Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C. is tied for 15th at 4 under, Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C. is tied for 21st at 3 under, Roger Sloan of Calgary is tied for 40th at 1 under and Nick Taylor from Abbotsford is tied for 40th and tied for 57th with 1 under

The cut was set at even par 142 and sent out an all-star cast from a tournament that didn’t feature many at all – Jordan Spieth, two-time Innisbrook winner Sam Burns, British Open winner Brian Harman, Tony Finau and Keegan Bradley all missed the cut.

It was the first time since 2017 that Spieth missed the cut in regular PGA Tour events in consecutive weeks (Players Championship, Byron Nelson).

None of the players sharing the lead are in the Masters – a win would take care of that – and Todd is best positioned to at least try to break into the top 50 after next week to fight his way back to Augusta National earn.

Todd was most pleased that he had a good attitude in the sunshine on Thursday, knowing that Friday would be more difficult. All of this was there for almost everyone.

“With winds that strong, you just had to expect that every now and then a shot would go somewhere you didn’t want,” Todd said. “That happened to me a few times, but I was able to pull through with a couple of birdies and a couple of great par saves.”

Cink, who recently became a grandfather, is still smarting from playing the last six holes in 5 overs – including a triple bogey – at the Cologuard Classic in Arizona on the PGA Tour Champions two weeks ago.

“To be honest, it feels the same no matter where you are,” he said. “Obviously the field here at Valspar is a little different than the last time I pitched it at Cologuard in Tucson. But it still feels the same and I didn’t have a very good result there. … That’s what I should do.’ I won the tournament and didn’t finish it. I had a mini nervous breakdown.

“So I’m just happy to be at the top of the leaderboard again,” he said. “I get another chance this week to learn some really great lessons and maybe some difficult lessons too.”

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