He was already a few steps towards it, but 25 year-old Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ontario cemented his place in Canadian golf history on Monday. A par on the third extra hole was enough to earn the PGA TOUR rookie a win at The RSM Classic in Sea Island, Georgia.
Hughes, who turns 26 on November 23rd, already has a storied golf career, remarkable given his tender age.
In 2011 Hughes burst on to the Canadian scene with a win at the Canadian Men’s Amateur at Niakwa GC in Manitoba. He backed it up with a repeat victory the next year at Camelot G&CC near Ottawa.
After joining the pro ranks, the Kent State graduate has won on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada, the Web.com Tour, and now, the PGA TOUR. Hughes is just the 11th Canadian Amateur winner to also win a PGA TOUR event. He follows in the footsteps of Jules Huot, Stan Leonard, Al Balding, George Knudson, Dan Halldorson, Dave Barr, Richard Zokol, Mike Weir, Ian Leggatt, and Nick Taylor as a Canadian-born winner at the game’s highest level.
Hughes, who plays out of the Dundas Valley G&CC, had a sparkling week in Sea Island, Georgia. In just his 5th event as a PGA TOUR member, and 9th overall, he led after each day, beginning with a stunning 61 in round one and following with 67, 68, and 69 (-17). In the end he led after the most important day, a 5th and unexpected one on Monday.
To do so he sank an improbable par putt from off the green on the par 3, 17th hole on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort. He then watched as Blayne Barber, Henrik Norlander, and Camilo Villegas failed to convert their pars.
“Oh, my god”, were the first words out of the mouth of the young Canadian as he realized his life-long dream of a PGA TOUR win, and all that goes with it.
“If I don’t make that putt I’m probably done but I tried to flip that around and say everyone’s got work left for par but if I can put mine in first it makes everyone’s job harder,” he commented immediately after the round. “So I just tried to make it; do the best I could to make a par, and put something for them to look at. As soon as I hit it I knew it was on a good line. I gave it some pace because I knew if I didn’t make it I was probably going to be out and 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.”
With the victory Mackenzie Hughes earns exempt status through the 2018/19 season as well as invitations to events like The Masters and The Players. He moves up from 58th to 4th on the tour money list, now with $1,245,738 in earnings. He also moves from 51st to 4th place in the FedEx standings.
In the Bag for Mackenzie Hughes (PING Staffer)
PING S55 4-9PW
PING Glide wedges – 52SS, 56WS, 60WS
PING Rapture Driving iron
PING G LS Tec 9 degree driver
PING G25 3-wood 15 degree
PING Scottsdale TR Piper C putter
Footjoy FJ Pro/SL Shoes