For Mackenzie Hughes of Canada, the third time was a charm.
The 31-year-old Hughes sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole, the third time he played the 18th hole on Sunday, and beat Sepp Straka of Austria to win the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Miss.
The Sanderson Farms was the second event of the last wraparound season before the PGA Tour goes to a new format in 2024.
“I’m over the moon,” said Hughes, who captured his second PGA Tour title, but the first since the 2016 RSM Classic. “I had some moments today where I was tested and was able to pull through. It’s kind of my M.O. a little bit to scramble and save some pars. I had to do that a little bit today on the back nine and made some clutch putts. Yeah, I did everything I possibly could, just grinded my butt off, and luckily it was good enough.
“Winning gives you a lot of confidence. It validates a lot of work I’ve been putting in. It’s just really hard to win. I know this gets said a lot, but I’ve been close a lot in the last five years, and to finally get one and get that monkey off my back for the second one is just the greatest feeling in the world.
“I think it’s harder to win your second tournament out here than the first.”
Hughes, who also won once on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour and once on the PGA Tour Canada, made two birdies on each nine against a single bogey at No. 6 in a 3-under-par 69 to record score of 17-under 271.
Straka, who lost in a playoff to Will Zalatoris in the FedEx St. Jude Championship to start the FedEx Cup playoffs in August, made four straight birdies through No. 9 and had six altogether against a single bogey at No. 10 in his 67 that forced the playoff.
“Obviously, I wanted to get the win, and I’m disappointed with that,” said Straka, who claimed his first PGA Tour victory in the Honda Classic last season in February. “But I played really well today. I shot 67 on a Sunday, came from behind and got myself into a playoff. Mac played great, birdieing 18. No. 18 is not an easy hole. Yeah, I’m happy for him, and looking forward to some more.
“It’s just more experience of getting myself in the hunt. I think that’s huge, the kind of experience you can’t buy. It’s always the goal at the beginning of the week, to have a chance on Sunday afternoon, and I gave myself a chance. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but next time it will.”
Straka barely missed his 25-foot from the fringe on the second extra hole before Mackenzie sank the winner.
Garrick Higgo of South Africa had three birdies and a bogey on each nine in a 68 and was one stroke back in third, while Dean Burmester, also of South Africa, made four birdies on the front nine on his way to a 67 and was another shot back on solo fourth.
Emiliano Grillo of Argentina overcame a triple-bogey 8 on No. 14 with six birdies and his 69 left him four shots behind in a tie for fifth with Nick Hardy, who had two late birdies in a 70, 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley, who birdied four of the last seven holes in another 70, and third-round co-leader Mark Hubbard, who struggled to a 74.
Matthew Nesmith collected nine birdies in a 64 and wound five shots behind in a tie for ninth with Greyson Sigg, who made for birdies on the back nine in a 67, second-round co-leader Thomas Detry of Belgium, who eagled the second and 14th holes in a 68, and Taylor Montgomery, who had three birdies on each nine in a 69.
Defending champion Sam Burns, who helped the United States retain the Presidents Cup last week, birdied two of the last three holes for a 70 and tied for 30th.
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