By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
Mackenzie Hughes was back on the golf course and in contention this week, following a short break upon earning his Web.com tour card as the top player on the PGA Tour Canada.
Nearly three weeks after he missed the cut at PGA Tour Canada’s final event of the season – but still held on to top spot on the tour money list to take a fully exempt status onto next year’s Web.com Tour – Hughes shot 14-under-par for a sixth place finish at the Egolf Tour’s Salisbury Classic near Charlotte, North Carolina.
Hughes was two strokes behind the leaders.
The Highland Secondary School’s graduate return showed no early signs of rust, despite a little time off, with three below-par rounds of 66, 65 and 68.
Meanwhile, Hughes was ranked 542 on the Official World Golf Rankings, out of 1,550 international professional golfers.
He’s the fourth highest ranked Canadian pro in the world – behind Graham DeLaet, David Hearn and Brad Fritsch. Hughes currently outranks well-known Canadian pros Mike Weir (7th in Canada, 575 World) and Stephen Ames (11th in Canada, 643 World).
This week’s event was Hughes’ eleventh on the Egolf Tour – a professional series that is played on courses around his current home in Charlotte.
In Wednesday’s opening round, Hughes had four birdies and five pars in the front nine. He followed that with back-to-back bogeys on holes 11 and 12 but rebounded with three more birdies for a 5-under 66.
Hughes came back even stronger in Thursday’s second round, with just one bogey for the round – on the seventh hole, plus five birdies and one eagle with a three on the par five fifteenth hole. He finished with a 6-under 65 to put himself 11-under par heading into the final round.
Hughes shot three-under on Friday to move one stroke closer to the leaders, but wasn’t able to close the rest of the gap.