Mackenzie Hughes has now won on both the Web .com and PGA Tours this year, but the moment that set it up, the confidence that he needed, came after tying for fifth at the Lecom Health Challenge in July in Findley Lake, N.Y.
“I was way out of the field the week prior, played the Monday qualifier, missed out, then the next day, by some miracle, got in the tournament on my number,” said Hughes, who had friends and family from the U.S. and Canada walking with him.
He appreciated their support and, wanting to play well for them, something else happened.
“For what ever reason, something in my swing clicked that week and as the week went on, I just got better and better and more comfortable and more comfortable,” he said.
“It was my best Web .com finish to that point. It gave me a sense of, `I can do this, I belong.’ From that point on, I really played with more freedom,” he said.
Instead of having to play Monday qualifiers, Hughes won his first Web .com Tour event just over a month later at the Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield, Mo., which set him up for graduation to the PGA Tour through the Web .com money list.
The Short Game
Hughes says he tried to embrace the attention he received for leading after all four rounds and into the playoff at the RSM Classic, admitting he did have some sleepless nights, but an adrenalin rush carried him through. Having his mom Sandra and wife Jenna there to hang out with during chill time was a bonus. One of the ways he relaxed was watching old episodes of Friends … Hughes and Jenna are off to Thailand next week for a 10-day honeymoon after getting married last month. “That will be my off-season. It’ll be my time away from golf from now until then. I’ll have about two-and-a-half, three weeks to get ready for the Tournament of Champions in Kapalua,” he said … With Hughes’ 26th birthday on Wednesday, I’m not suggesting anybody act on this immediately out of fear of somebody throwing a golf shoe at me, but it’s time to open an Ontario/Canadian Golf Hall of Fame file on him. Hear me out. Not only does he now have a PGA Tour win, he also has a Web .com Tour victory and a Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada triumph. He also won the Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit and was named Canadian Player of the Year and let’s not forget his two Canadian Amateur championships, which a lot of people do with their fascination with the pros … As of Tuesday evening in Melbourne, David Hearn’s club still hadn’t arrived in Oz for this week’s World Cup, which he is scheduled to play with Adam Hadwin … Just a reminder that the deadline for several Canadian Golf Superintendents Association awards is rapidly approaching on Wednesday, Nov. 30. For more information, click here … PGA Tour Latinoamerica will hold the Shell Championship next week in Miami, where the top 60 on that circuit’s Order of Merit will gather, including Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., who is currently sixth, just outside the top five who will receive Web .com Tour status next year when play is completed. Other Canadians playing include Derek Gillespie of Oshawa, Ont., (33rd) and Peter Campbell of Baddeck, N.S. (51st) … Also at stake are some passes to the final stage of Web .com Tour Q-school, which takes place Dec.8-11 at Orange County National in Orlando … The final stage of LPGA Tour Q-school goes next week at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. … This week’s Buick Open is also the final event of the PGA Tour China schedule and Justin Shin of Maple Ridge, B.C., is currently eighth on the Order of Merit. As it is with PGA Tour Latinoamerica, the top five receive Web .com status at the end of the season … PING has announced the signing of 2016 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner Tyrell Hatton to a multi-year deal. “We’ve watched him very closely since he joined the European Tour two years ago and we’ve been impressed with every aspect of his game. He had two top-10 finishes in major championships this year, which says a great deal about his ability to compete against the best in the world. He’s a great addition to our global tour staff and we look forward to supporting him as he continues his rise in the game,” said PING chairman and CEO John Solheim … This week’s GNN Poll asks readers if vandalism to golf courses is becoming more prevalent in the respective areas where they work. As of this writing, 54 per cent said no and 46 per cent voted yes. You can still cast your vote on the GNN home page.