Hamilton’s Mackenzie Hughes earns 2nd career PGA Tour victory

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Published October 2, 2022 at 8:55 pm

Golfer Mackenzie Hughes in 2020. (Frank Franklin II, Associated Press)

Overtime was the right time for Mackenzie Hughes on Sunday.

The pro golfer from Dundas, in Hamilton, captured the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss., for his second career PGA Tour victory after his nerves held up through a two-hole playoff with Sepp Straka. They finished tied at a 17-under 271, and Hughes broke the deadlock by draining an eight-foot birdie putt on the duo’s third time playing No. 18 at the Country Club of Jackson. Straka missed his putt for birdie from 18 feet.

Back in 2016, Hughes also got his first win on the tour in a playoff at the RSM Classic.

Hughes shot a 3-under 69 in regulation, while Straka authored a 5-under 67 to force the tie. On the closing hole, Hughes sent his tee shot well to the left and his ball ended up under a tree and against a grandstand. He used his putter from 100 feet away to get himself a high-percentage putt to save par, which he converted. Hughes made another par save on the first sudden-victory hole, blasting his ball out of a bunker to set up a five-foot par putt.

On the next hole, Hughes got the win.

The timeless adage in golf is you drive for show, and putt for dough. Hughes’ driving accuracy, per pgatour.com’s advanced stats, was below his average for the week both on Sunday and on Friday, when he showed his intention to contend by firing a 63. But he shaved 1.202 strokes through his putting in the final round, and whittled away 2.836 during his round on Friday.

The 31-year-old was not part of the International team for the recent Presidents Cup tournament that was held in Charlotte, N.C., where Hughes and his spouse Jenna Shaw live with their two children, Kenton and Cohen. Hughes indicated in post-tournament interviews that coming up short of that opportunity was motivation for a good week in his second start of the new ’22-23 golf season.

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., was an automatic selection for the Internnational team after finishing the 2021-22 PGA Tour season fourth in the International team standings. Scott Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., was a captain’s selection, officially chosen by South Africa’s Trevor Immelman, thanks to a strong run through the summer. That marked the first time two Canadians played on the International team. The next Presidents Cup will also be played on Canadian turf at Royal Montreal in 2024.

Last season on the PGA Tour, Hughes finished 57th in the official FedExCup standings and tallied US$2.276M in earnings. He made the FedExCup Playoffs for the fourth season in a row and fifth time in his career. His season included a second-place finish in the RSM Classic, and two other top-10 results.

In 2021, Hughes was presented with the Bill Sturrup Award as top athlete of the year in the Burlington and Greater Hamilton Areas. The award is presented annually at the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) Children’s Fundraiser in Hamilton.

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