A day after Billy Horschel's stunning short miss in a playoff on Sunday, it was an unexpected make that finally ended the RSM Classic. With Horschel out, four players returned to Sea Island on Monday morning to conclude the tournament and it looked like it might continue to a fourth extra hole after all four missed the green with their tee shots on the par-3 17th hole.
Mackenzie Hughes missed the green with his second shot as well. And yet, he wound up walking away the winner in a surprising turn of events. Here's Hughes rolling in his unlikely par putt from the fringe:
"If I don't make that putt I'm probably done, but I tried to flip that around and say everyone's got work left for par, but if I can put mine in first, it makes everyone's job harder," Hughes told Golf Channel after. "So I just tried the best to make it and put something for them to look at. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was on a great line. I gave it some pace, because I knew if I didn't make it, I was probably out. About (Side note: Hughes is Canadian so he says "aboot") a foot from the hole, I knew it was in the heart and it was such a good feeling to see it go in."
Next up with Blayne Barber from eight feet. Miss.
Then Henrik Norlander from seven feet. Miss.
And finally, Camilo Villegas from about four feet. You guessed it, miss.
Hughes, who earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, is the first rookie to go wire-to-wire for the win on the PGA Tour since 1996. He was also asked by Golf Channel about how getting to play with Phil Mickelson at the Safeway Open in October helped him win in just his fifth start on tour.
"It was huge. Just being in that atmosphere with those galleries it prepared me to deal with what I was dealing with yesterday and today," Hughes said. "You couldn't buy that experience. So playing with him was a real treat."
Perhaps, but here are some other real treats that come with Hughes' maiden win. He pocketed nearly $700,000 more than the four players who finished tied for second, he gets a spot in the Masters in April, and most importantly, the Canadian earned job security on the PGA Tour through 2019. Not bad, eh?