As the first round co-leader at The Players Championship, the week started with promise for Mackenzie Hughes at TPC Sawgrass. While the fairy-tale ending that would see him wrap up his second PGA TOUR victory did not occur, the 26 year-old still took away a lot from the time in Ponte Vedra.
The PGA TOUR rookie from Dundas, ON ended the week in a share of 16th place, and although he followed his opening 67 with a 75 and a 74, he still felt he was in the mix for the title almost to the end of the tournament.
Mid-way on Sunday Hughes had worked his way to -3 overall and was looking for a heroic finish, Rickie Fowler style.
“Even coming down the last few holes, I was a few under,” he conveyed to Bob Weeks of TSN after the round. “I was standing on 15 green, I had visions of finishing like Rickie Fowler in 2015 trying to go five under for the last four. I tried to get too a little aggressive on the putt on 15, and ran it by and three putted, then didn’t capitalize on 16, made a good par on 17, but then 18, first time I hit the fairway all week and make bogey.”
Despite the closing 71, Hughes related that there was some positive things to come from his first shot at The Players Championship, which was won by 21 year-old Si Woo Kim.
“There’s thousands of positives and few negatives. If I can clean up what I did this week I have a chance to win.”
The final result was the fourth top 20 finish of the season for Hughes, including his win in the Fall at the RSM Classic.
He picked up $152,250 for his play at TPC Sawgrass and also moves up to 17th in the FedEx rankings from 20th place.
B.C.’s Adam Hadwin (71-72-76-70) ended the week in a share of 30th while David Hearn of Brantford, ON, shared 69th (70-69-80-78).