SYDNEY, N.S. - Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., shot a final round 66 to capture his first career PGA Tour Canada title on Sunday.
Hughes birdied five of his first six holes and four of his last five for the best round of the day and a one-shot victory over Vancouver’s Ryan Williams.
Hughes is the first non-member to win on Tour since Eugene Wong at last year's Tour Championship. The win also vaulted him to the top of the Order of Merit with one event remaining, securing his card on the Web.com Tour for 2014.
“To win here on PGA Tour Canada means so much. It's been a crazy year,” said Hughes, the two-time Canadian Amateur Champion who started the year with no status. “If you told me at the start of the year after I missed those first few cuts that I'd be number one on the Order of Merit heading to the Tour Championship, I'd say 'stop messing with me.’”
At 22 years, 9 months and 16 days, Hughes is the second youngest winner on PGA Tour Canada this season. Riley Wheeldon was 12 days younger than Hughes when he won the Syncrude Boreal Open earlier this year.
Hughes is also the first Canadian Amateur champion to win on Tour since Rob McMillan won the 2002 Barefoot Classic.
Starting the day six shots behind 54-hole leader David Skinns, Hughes came out of the gate on fire, posting birdies on five of his first six holes. Then, two shots behind in the middle of his back nine, Hughes drained long birdie putts on the 14th and 15th, two of his four birdies in the final five holes.
Hughes would go on to birdie the 16th and barely missed a 15-foot eagle putt at the 18th hole to post 14-under par in the clubhouse. He then watched as Williams, playing in the day’s final group, knocked his second shot at the par-5 closing hole to within six feet for the eagle he would need to force a playoff.
The putt slid by, however, giving Hughes his first professional victory.
Williams posted a career best finish with his solo second performance, as did Englishman David Skinns who tied for third along with American Wes Homan.