Canadian Mackenzie Hughes sunk an eight-foot flying kick in Sunday’s second playoff to defeat Austrian Sepp Straka and win the Sanderson Farms PGA Championship.
The 31-year-old from Hamilton earned his second PGA title after he and Straka finished 72 holes in a 17-under 271 par at The Country Club of Jackson in Mississippi.
“Words can’t describe it,” Hughes said. “I’ve been working really hard, and it took a few hours. I feel so good.
“It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. Winning happens so infrequently that when we win it is very special.”
World number 82 Hughes won his only PGA title at the 2016 RSM Classic, winning a five-man playoff that week with a tie on the third overtime hole.
“It definitely does look a little sweeter than the first,” Hughes said. “I was fighting like hell to stay in it. Somehow I made it through.”
Ending the six-year title drought was exciting.
“These are the things that make you feel alive,” Hughes said. “It’s a feeling you crave and a feeling you want more of – it will make me work harder.”
Hughes saved two excellent goals at 18 to give himself a shot at winning strikes there.
At the age of 18 on the regulation, Hughes was left off the tee over the green, but was placed 35 yards to four feet from the hole and made the arching shot to force the playoff.
Straka shot five under 67 in regulation while Hughes shot 69.
The playoff started at the age of 18 and Straka had 20 feet while Hughes was in a vault. Hughes ran to five feet, Straca missed his shot and both tapped to stretch things out.
“Those parities save along the inning, I was just trying to send the ball down the hole,” Hughes said. “That kind of described my game a little bit, that grit and perseverance. The second felt harder than the first which is for sure.”
Once again they played 18, this time both Hughes and Straka had jumper pitches. Straca slipped off the sidelines, leaving Hughes eight tails to victory. Hughes rolled a knockout and pumped his right hand first in celebration.
“Maybe it was a bit of a relief,” Hughes said of his feelings at that moment. “It’s been a while.” “I’ve had a few close calls. Finishing second, while still great, kind of stings when you’re close.”
“I just won’t accept that day.”
Straka, seeded 36, won his first PGA title in February at the Honda Classic and nearly clinched his second title in August before losing a playoff to Will Xalatores at the St. Jude Championships.
“I hit good shots,” Straka said. “I gave myself good chances. Unfortunately, I couldn’t change direction.” “I played great golf on a tough Sunday. Good to know my game is in a good place.”
South African Jaric Hugo finished third with 272 after closing 68, finishing one stroke ahead of compatriot Dean Burmeister.
American Mark Hubbard, the 54-hole leader in pursuit of his first Pro League title, scored 74 goals to share fifth place with 275 with compatriots Nick Hardy, Keegan Bradley and Argentine Emiliano Grillo.
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