The historic highlight reel will record that Mackenzie Hughes won his first PGA Tour title on Monday morning by draining an 18-foot par putt from the fringe, a clutch stroke that brought him the $1.08-million winner’s purse at the RSM Classic at Sea Island, Georgia.
But those who know Hughes will tell you it’s possible the most important moment of his career-changing weekend — one that earned him entry into The Masters and two-year membership on tour, among many other benefits — came in Saturday’s third round. Hughes, who shot an opening-round 61, had navigated the opening 46 holes of the tournament without making a bogey when he arrived at the Seaside course’s 11th hole. There, a wayward drive into a bunker and a questionable moment of decision-making gave him a triple-bogey 7.
Hughes’s lead had suddenly vanished. Given his history for youthful hot-headedness — and given this was just the fifth start of his rookie season on the PGA Tour — an immediate plummet down the leaderboard wouldn’t have come as a surprise.
The manner with which Hughes responded to the setback said a lot about why he became the first Canadian to win on tour since Nick Taylor in 2014. Instead of falling apart, Hughes birdied three of the next five holes to restore his lead and enter Sunday’s final round with a one-shot advantage. Instead of withering into also-ran status, he found himself in a five-man playoff from which he ultimately emerged as the victor.
Mackenzie Hughes stuns playoff competitors with putt from off the green, wins 1st PGA Tour title.
A Canadian has not won the Canadian Open since 1954! I will be watching Mackenzie at Oakville, Ont.’s Glen Abbey Golf Club July 24 – 30, 2017.