Dundas’ Mackenzie Hughes is in the running for Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year.
The Highland Secondary School graduate surpassed expectations in his first full season as a professional golfer in 2013, finishing first overall in the PGA Tour Canada to receive a full exemption on next season’s Web.com Tour — one step below the PGA Tour.
Paula Schnurr, spokesperson for the Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year committee, confirmed Hughes is definitely in the mix.
“Yes, Mackenzie has been nominated, actually multiple times,” Schnurr said in an email.
The committee is accepting nominations until December 31, and voting will take place in early January with three finalists announced on January 9. If Hughes is among the final three nominees, he will be the first male golfer to earn that accolade.
Hughes, 23, finishes 2013 ranked 560th of 1,508 professionals in the World Golf Rankings, the sixth highest ranked Canadian golfer on the list.
He reached his highest ranking in the world this year a week after his first professional win at the Cape Breton Celtic Classic. Hughes earned $52,114 on the PGA Tour Canada to finish first in the tour’s money list. He had four top 10 finishes, including one tournament win and one second place finish.
He played in the 2013 U.S. Open – winning a qualifying tournament in a playoff – and Canadian Open on the PGA Tour. Hughes also earned $25,863.57 on the eGolf Tour, where he had four top 10 finishes, including a second place tie and a third place tie.
After missing the cut in four of his first five PGA Tour Canada tournaments, Hughes had a strong third place tie in his fourth event, the Dundas native strung together an impressive run with three straight top 10 finishes.
He finished 10th, second, then won his first pro tournament in three successive weeks and shot four round scores of 16, 18 and 14 under par during that run.
The Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year has been awarded since 1995. Ancaster’s Melissa Tancredi, of the Canada’s women’s Olympic soccer team won in 2012. Swimmer Summer Mortimer was also a finalist that year. Snowboarder Brad Martin was a finalist in 2006.