Rookie Hughes wins 5-way playoff at RSM Classic
A clutch up-and-down, chip and putt in a playoff has made rookie Mackenzie Hughes the latest winner on the PGA Tour.
The 25-year-old and two-time Canadian Amateur champion, finished off a five-man playoff on Monday morning, rolling in a 18-foot par putt to win the RSM Classic in Sea Island.
“I made the putt of my life right there,” said Hughes.
“Downhill, breaking a little left to right. I mean, I don’t know how I made it, but I did, so I’m over the moon.”
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was on a good line. And I gave it some pace because I knew if I didn’t make it I was probably going to be out. About a foot from the hole I knew it was right in the heart. It was such a good feeling to see it go in.”
The 72-hole tournament ended in a five-man tie late Sunday afternoon with players at 17-under and two playoff holes were contested before darkness fell. With four players remaining, each missed the green on the Par 3 17th as play resumed on Monday morning.
Hughes outlasted Camilo Villegas, Billy Horschel, Henrik Norlander and Blayne Barber to collect his first PGA Tour win. This was just Hughes’ ninth PGA Tour event ever. His best finish was a T13 at the Safeway Open a month ago.
As we see time and time again on tour, Hughes won it with his short game this week. After the 61 on Thursday and a 67-68-69 finish, Hughes was ranked No. 3 in the field in putting and No. 1 in shots around the green.
“It’s pretty crazy to think that that’s where I was and here’s where I am now,” said Hughes. “It’s just hard to believe and it’s an amazing experience to have.”
This is a life-changing win for the Canadian, who earned his PGA Tour card on the Web.com Tour last season finishing 17th on the money list. He went from almost losing starts in the minor leagues to making the cut at three of his four events as a full-time PGA Tour member.
Hughes is just the 9th Canadian to win on the PGA Tour and the first rookie to win a tournament wire-to-wire in 20 years. He’s now exempt for the next two seasons and is guaranteed an appearance in The PGA Championship, the Players Championship, the 2017 Tournament of Champions and won US$1.08 million in the process.
Cameron Percy was the best of the Aussies finishing in a tie for 21st position with Brett Drewitt at 2-under and in a tie for 67th position.
The cut came in at 5-under with Matt Jones missing the weekend after forgoing his defence of the Australian Open to play, finishing at 3-under after the second round along with Stuart Appleby. Whilst Steven Bowditch fired rounds of 77-87 to finish last.