Hughes edges clear of Cink and Byrd

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Rookie Mackenzie Hughes produced his best round of the new PGA Tour season to charge to the top of the leaderboard after the opening day of the RSM Classic.

Hughes has enjoyed a solid start in the early tournaments of the new calendar with a tie for 13th at the Safeway Open his best finish.

And he looks set to be in contention at Sea Island this week after a nine-under-par round of 61 gave him a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink and Jonathan Byrd.

Hughes - playing the Seaside course - made a superb start with five birdies before the turn, and he continued that on the back nine by picking up another four shots on a blemish-free round.

He would have had a share of the lead with Cink had the experienced 43-year-old not bogeyed the ninth on the Seaside course.

Cameron Tringale, Hiroshi Iwata and Kyle Stanley hit the best rounds on the Plantation course - each player will play both before the cut is made - the trio carding 65s to finish two shots back on -7.

Brandt Snedeker was the highest-placed member of the top 35 after round one as he came home in 66 on the Plantation course.

Winning Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III had a mixed day with a pair of bogeys on the front and back nine meaning he sits well of the pace on even par.

One of his vice-captains Jim Furyk fared much better as he came home six-under, and the 2003 U.S. Open winner almost recorded a hole-in-one at the 12th, only to see his ball lip out on the left edge.