Over the two playoff holes it was the putter that ultimately proved the difference between Mackenzie Hughes and Sepp Straka, as Hughes took his opportunity to win whilst Straka didn't.
It had been a day where chances were slim and, when Hughes got up-and-down at the last hole to force a playoff with the Austrian, it was the 31-year-old who secured the trophy, his first since the 2016 RSM Classic, as Hughes holed a short birdie putt to win a second time on the PGA Tour.
"I kept telling myself all week that I was going to do it (win)," explained Hughes, who picked up his first victory in just under six years. "That's all I saw in my mind and this win definitely felt harder than the first one, that's for sure!
"Words can't describe it. I've been working so hard and putting in the hours and it feels so good. To see my family walk on the green, I've been envisaging that moment since I had my first boy. It's the coolest thing in the world and when you win it's always super special."
.@MacHughesGolf knew it was good 💪 pic.twitter.com/PuEynTjJQjOctober 2, 2022
Beginning the final day it was Mark Hubbard who led by one, with the American holding a one shot lead over Hughes and a three shot advantage on Straka, Garrick Higgo and Scott Stallings.
But, in a final round where no one seemed to take charge of proceedings at the Sanderson Farms Championship, we saw the scores still tied at the top as players headed to the back nine. Hughes did momentarily take the lead, but Straka battled back to overtake him with a handful of holes remaining.
It was still anyone's to take and, when Straka parred in his last three holes, the Austrian set the clubhouse target of 17-under-par. Waiting for the final groups to finish, it was Hughes who rivalled him, as the Canadian made a gutsy up-and-down at the 72nd hole to force a playoff.
As both parred the first playoff hole, it was advantage Hughes with the second shots on the second playoff hole. The Canadian found the green and a putt that measured no more than 10-foot.
With Straka just missing yet another birdie attempt at the 18th, it was up to Hughes to step up and roll in yet another putt, something that he had been doing for fun all day. Finding the bottom of the hole, the title was his, his first in just under six years.
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Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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