Canadian Mackenzie Hughes holed a 17-foot par putt from the fringe on the third sudden-death play-off hole to win the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic.
The 25-year-old rookie, playing in just his sixth PGA Tour start, was one of five players – Americans Billy Horschel and Blayne Barber, Colombian Camilo Villegas and Swede Henrik Norlander – to finish tied at 17 under at the Sea Island Resort.
The quintuplet headed back to the 18th tee late on Sunday afternoon and Horshel was the first player eliminated when he missed his par saver from close range. All four remaining players parred the 18th again in the darkness before play was suspended due to light.
A disappointed Camilo Villegas after missing his par saver in the play-off. PHOTO: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
The foursome returned Monday morning and headed for the par-3 17th where all four missed the green with their tee shots. Hughes’ hit a 4-iron ran through the green and down a hill, leaving a difficult chip shot. His attempt made it to the top of the slope and stopped on the fringe and he was the furthest from the hole looking to make par.
The rookie’s par putt never looked like missing and he was left to watch Villegas, Norlander and Barber all try and emulate him but all failed in their attempts.
“Standing there watch them all putt, I was way more nervous than when I was putting mine … because as each guy went down, it just became that much more real that it might happen,” Hughes said.
The former two-time Canadian Amateur Champion graduated from the Web.com Tour this season, courtesy of a late season victory that secured his PGA Tour card.
“It’s pretty crazy to think that that’s where I was and here’s where I am now,” said Hughes, who will now play the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and gets a start at Augusta.
Victorian Cameron Percy was the best of the Australians, who had back-to-back 68s over the weekend to climb into a tie for 21st place at 11 under.