Mark Hubbard wins first Web.com Tour title at LECOM Suncoast Classic
February 17, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- February 17, 2019
- Mark Hubbard earned his first Web.com Tour victory at the LECOM Suncoast Classic. (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida – After entering the day with a two-stroke advantage, Mark Hubbard held off a late surge from Maverick McNealy to earn his first Web.com Tour victory at the LECOM Suncoast Classic. Hubbard carded a final-round 5-under 67 to finish with a 26-under 262 total at Lakewood National Golf Club.
“I’m speechless right now,” said Hubbard. “I was able to pull it off by not thinking about the outcome and just playing my game, at least until my putt on 17 (made bogey)…my last five shots I was in my head a bit. But it was great to do this with my mom and my little brother here. I’m over the moon right now.”
Hubbard looked ready to coast to victory after five birdies yielded a front-nine 31. Six straight pars to start the back nine – along with an eagle and two birdies by McNealy on the back nine – shrunk his lead to one. Hubbard birdied the par-5 16th for a two-stroke lead that would hold through the end.
“The first scoreboard I looked at was on 15 green,” said Hubbard, whose last win came on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada in 2013. “I had told my caddie not to tell me anything. The way this course was playing I knew I needed to score. If we were at Riviera maybe I could come out and shoot even and get away with it, but out here I had to score. And Mav showed that, he was nipping at my heels all day.”
The San Jose State alum was near the top in several statistical categories. He ranked T3 in driving accuracy, T2 in greens in regulation and second in birdies made with 29. All week he talked about keeping his mind and emotions in check. He was able to do that on Sunday with the help of some pre-round music.
“I was really nervous last night before I went to sleep, but this morning I felt good,” said Hubbard. “I worked out, listened to music and had a normal routine. I listen to a bunch of different stuff before rounds, sometimes country or even the band my brother used to be in. But today I listened to some slower-paced music to calm me down.”
After missing the first three cuts of the season, Hubbard posted a top-20 finish in Panamá before the win this week. He moved from 78th in the Web.com Tour points standings last week to fourth. Even after collecting the win, the 2014 Web.com Tour grad referenced the work ahead to regain his PGA TOUR card this season.
“It hasn’t fully sunk in yet; I’m really proud of how I handled myself this week and the win is just a bonus,” said Hubbard. “But every year there are a few guys who win and don’t get their PGA TOUR cards. This is just the beginning for me and I’m looking forward to getting back out there and playing well.”
McNealy, a Stanford University alum and former world No. 1 amateur, kept the pressure on with a final-round 5-under 67. The runner-up finish is his highest on Tour, replacing a T3 finish last year at the United Leasing & Finance Championship. The 23-year-old has also made all five cuts this year and jumps to No. 7 in the Web.com Tour points standings.
“The last three weeks, each one has been the highest I’ve ever been on the Web.com Tour points ranking, so I’m really happy with the way my game is. I think I’m trending up. The next time I’m in this situation, I’ll be even more comfortable, excited and driven to get it done.”
McNealy bogeyed the 17th for an eventual two-shot deficit at 24-under 264, one stroke clear of Rick Lamb and Jimmy Stanger at T3. Monday qualifier J.T. Griffin finished in solo-fifth, which will earn him a spot in the field in the next event and improve his position for the next reshuffle.