KORN FERRY TOUR FINALS
Hughes feels at home in Northeast Ohio
September 09, 2016
By Mike Peticca, Special to PGATOUR.COM
- September 09, 2016
- Mackenzie Hughes attended college at nearby Kent State yet never played Canterbury GC. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Mackenzie Hughes had never played at Canterbury Golf Club prior to this week. Yet, the famed venue near where he played collegiately gives him a touch of a home-course feel.
"It's super nice. I love being in Ohio," said Hughes, a 2012 Kent State graduate, after he shot a 2-under par 68 in Friday's second round of the DAP Championship, the first leg of the Web.com Tour Finals.
"It does feel like home, and even though I went to school 45 minutes from here, it has the right feel."
Hughes, from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, won the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper on the Web.com Tour this year to secure his PGA TOUR card for the first time, and he claimed a Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada victory at the Cape Breton Celtic Classic in 2013.
Now, he's trying to better his PGA TOUR status during the Web.com Tour Finals. The DAP Championship is the first of four Finals tournaments in a five-week stretch. The top 25 total money-winners in the events qualify for a TOUR card.
Hughes, at 3-under after two rounds, is in position for a solid Finals start. He closed Friday's round in fine style -- making putts of 30 and 12 feet for birdies on the 16th and 18th holes, respectively.
"I definitely was focusing on having a nice start," he said. "And, being that it is the first event, you just want to get your foot in the door and put some money up on the board, because every dollar is going to count in these next four events."
Web.com Tour Finals 101
Hughes is optimistic that he can be a factor in the third and fourth rounds.
"I want to have a strong weekend and take advantage," he said. "I'm playing pretty well.”
"If I tighten up a little bit and make a few putts, I'm right there. It's a great course and I love playing it, so I'm excited for the weekend."
It is surprising that Hughes had never before played Canterbury. The course is one of two -- Oak Hill in Rochester, New York the other -- which has hosted all five rotating men's major championships (U.S. Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open, Senior PGA Championship, U.S. Amateur).
"We never played it while I was at Kent," Hughes said. "I heard a lot of great things and we always talked about it -- Canterbury just down the road. We played so many great courses in Cleveland but we never got to play here.
"It lives up to all of the hype. It's such a nice golf course and has so much history. It's really a treat to be out here."
Cameron Percy wanted to finish his second round no matter how dark it was.
No wonder. He wanted to put an official finish to his fine day.
"We thought we were going to cruise in, but then the last two holes, it got really dark, really quick," Percy said after carding a 4-under-par 66 that moved him into a second-place tie at 6-under.
"Then the last hole, it was really dark. I didn't want to come back (on Saturday morning to finish the round), so we had to finish, for sure."
Percy not only finished. He finished in style. He began his round on the 10th tee, and was on No. 9 -- his final hole -- when the horn sounded to stop play. Percy's group exercised its option to finish the par-5, 552-yard hole. He made birdie, his fourth of the day against no bogeys.
"I just drove the fairway all day and I hit a lot of greens, too," Percy said. "I think I only chipped once, so it was a pretty nice day."
Percy, 42, placed 168th in the FedExCup standings. He's earned about $2.1 million in his PGA TOUR career, with no victories, though he's won five professional tournaments in Australia and one on the Web.com Tour.
"Hit a few more drives," Percy said of his probable third-round strategy. "You've got to go after it, so you've just got to be ballsy enough to keep hitting driver and attack a few holes."
"Just gotta be ballsy enough to keep hitting drivers."— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) September 10, 2016
Cameron Percy (T2) is ready for the weekend. pic.twitter.com/McrWwdzS4l
The cut line is likely to be even par when the final groups close their second rounds on Saturday morning.
That means Camilo Villegas probably won't be playing on the weekend. Though the 34-year-old Colombian was among Friday's earliest second-round finishers, he figured his 1-over-par score might not be good enough.
"I didn't play very good in the first two rounds and put myself in that situation," Villegas said after signing his scorecard. "I don't think it's going to be enough."
Villegas got his game going just a bit too late. He shot a 3-over par 73 in the first round and was 4-over for the tournament after his 11th hole on Friday. Assuming he misses the cut, that was too much for him to overcome despite playing his last seven holes in 3-under.
Villegas is a four-time winner on the PGA TOUR with more than $18 million in earnings. He was 152nd in the FedExCup standings this season, though.
"Obviously, it's been a slow year," he said. "It's been up and down, and just when I think I'm gonna get in the right direction, something slows me down.
"It's been frustrating. It's a tough game, let me tell you. We chose a tough job."
Villegas, who has 10 total professional wins, isn't about to give up on the Web.com Tour Finals.
"There are four (tournaments) and hopefully I get a chance to play the weekend, and then three more," he said, "to show what I'm capable of and get back my full privileges and enjoy my game on the PGA TOUR again."