Takeaways: Hughes to celebrate win with buddies trip to Vegas
August 14, 2016
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Earlier this season, Mackenzie Hughes was in danger of losing his Web.com Tour card. Now he's headed to the PGA TOUR. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Mackenzie Hughes will head home Monday morning after his win Sunday at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper to celebrate with his fiancée, Jenna.
The Canadian now calls Charlotte, North Carolina home, and his nuptials – on October 22 – will be there as well.
Jenna, who admitted Sunday she cleans when she follows Hughes online because she gets nervous (she wasn’t on-site this week) spent the weekend planning the wedding and organizing.
But before the wedding itself, Hughes has a fun adventure planned with his groomsmen – including Web.com Tour members Taylor Pendrith and Albin Choi – a trip to Las Vegas.
The triumvirate, along with Canadian Corey Conners (who is playing on Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Latinoamerica) made a pact that said if any of the three won an event this year, the trip would happen as soon as possible.
The winner would treat the others to the flights to Sin City.
“We were just talking and said, ‘You know what, if one of us wins, we’re going to go hard. We’re going to celebrate big time,” he said with a laugh. “We decided on Vegas. As soon as we won, the thought crossed my mind: ‘Oh, I guess we’re going to Vegas.’”
Hughes said he, Choi, and Pendrith were having dinner earlier this season and they thought up the idea.
“We’re going there for my bachelor party already, so it might just be for them to come out for my bachelor party and that’ll be that,” he said. “I’ll have to discuss with the boys and see what happens. They’re probably on the way already.”
Hughes’ victory was dedicated to his family and wife-to-be, but there was a deep support system that existed beyond those immediately close to him.
The aforementioned Pendrith (and Conners) both went to Kent State University with Hughes.
“His game is really steady, and he doesn’t make many mistakes, ever. He made a bunch of birdies this week with very few bogeys,” said Pendrith, who was watching from home. “I had a feeling if he played another solid game today, someone was going to have to play better than him. He had another great round and I’m fired up for him.”
Hughes has also been a longtime member of Golf Canada’s national programs north of the border. He was part of the national amateur squad, and then, after he turned professional, it was announced that Golf Canada – which is the national governing body for the sport – had created a Young Professionals Program to help elite amateurs with their transition to the professional ranks. Hughes has been part of the program for the last three years, led by Derek Ingram, who is also Canada’s Olympic golf coach.
“Mackenzie has always been a winner, and the guy has closed out tournaments before when he has a chance, but it’s been a lean two years,” Ingram said from Rio. “Never did we think we would not win out here, but patience and persistence has been key.”
“The reality is Hughes has been doing the right thing for many years. He has great routines and habits, and works harder and smarter than about any athlete I know,” he continued. “He’s been a total pleasure to coach the last seven years.”
This year, Canada didn't earn any Olympic golf medals.— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) August 14, 2016
But Mackenzie Hughes will return to the North with a trophy. pic.twitter.com/cvcuCiGLMK
Despite a run of five straight missed cuts, Richy Werenski has had a tendency in 2016 to show up at big events.
The Georgia Tech product captured the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation earlier this year to kick-start the summer stretch. And this week, Werenski rolled in a long eagle on the 72nd hole that forced Mackenzie Hughes to birdie the last to earn the title.
“I had to put the pressure on Mackenzie behind me,” Werenski said. “He’d been playing well all week, but I had to put the pressure on him.”
Werenski, who took the prior week off and returned to Florida, will do the same this week before returning to action in Portland at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz.
Despite his run this week, he admitted he started to ‘force things’ after his win earlier this year.
“The last month or two, I feel like I’ve been close. I don’t feel like my game has been too far off, but after the win, my first one, it was tough to know how to come back from that,” he said.
Werenski’s finish Sunday saw him leapfrog fellow Georgia Tech graduate Ollie Schniederjans for second on the money list. He remains approximately $100,000 behind Wesley Bryan for the top spot, but said that he’s still shooting for No. 1.
“It’s still possible,” he stated. “There are big purses in the Finals; you never know what can happen. But I’m just trying to get my game ready for the PGA TOUR next year. If I do that, I should have some good results.”
Richy Werenski watched Mackenzie Hughes make birdie on 18 to win by one. Still, Werenski moves to 2nd in The 25. 👍 pic.twitter.com/az2xPeqJZw— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) August 15, 2016
Xander Schauffele managed to jump into The 25 for the first time all season thanks to a tie for fourth this week.
Schauffele had a fairly pedestrian start to his season, but has finished in the top five, including two top-3 finishes, in three of his last four weeks. His stretch of good golf comes at a key point in the season.
The 22-year-old has made eight cuts this year (versus missing nine), but when he’s played the weekend, he has made it count.
J.J. Spaun returned from a holiday and ended up right back in the thick of things again at the Price Cutter Charity Championship.
Spaun, who took a week off after missing the cut at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae in his native California, eagled both of the par-5s on the back nine Sunday at Highland Springs to move into a tie for sixth.
“I feel fresh; I feel like I had a month off even though it was a week. It was something I needed to get into the final stretch,” Spaun said.
His finish also moved him to fifth on the money list, the highest such person on The 25 without a win in 2016.
“To be where I’m at on the money list, and to be where I’m at, I’m not complaining. I had to change goals as the season progressed, but you’ve got to stay motivated, you’ve got to stay hungry,” explained Spaun.
The 25-year-old said he felt this season was comparable to last year on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada, where he just played steady all year long.
“It’s more of a comfort,” he admitted. “I feel comfortable out here. I’m not searching for anything, or changing anything in my game or my swing. It’s the belief I have, and the trust that I can go out there and put up a number no matter where I’m at.”