JACKSON, Miss. — Whether it was sheer confidence or remarkable resilience, Mackenzie Hughes never doubted he would win the Sanderson Farms Championship. He just never imagined how it would unfold Sunday evening.
Hughes had to make six key putts on the final seven holes — four of them for par — to outlast Sepp Straka on the second playoff hole for his second PGA Tour victory.
"The second one felt a lot harder than the first one, that's for sure," Hughes said.
The 31-year-old Canadian renowned for his putter finally made a birdie his third time playing the 18th hole at the Country Club of Jackson, pouring in an eight-footer for the win.
But this was as much about pars: the 15-footer on the par-5 14th, the seven-footer on the 16th after he couldn't reach the green from a fairway bunker, and two tough par saves on the 18th — from 100 feet behind the green in regulation and from a bunker on the first playoff hole.
"I kept telling myself the whole week that I was going to do it. That was the only thing I saw in my mind," Hughes said. "Those par saves down the stretch, I was just trying to will the ball into the hole."
The first par save on the 18th gave him a 3-under 69 to force a playoff against Straka, the former University of Georgia golfer from Austria who played two groups ahead of Hughes and shot a 67 to post a 17-under 271 for 72 holes.
On the second playoff hole, Straka missed from 18 feet on the fringe before Hughes made the winning putt.
It was the second time in his past four tournaments that Straka lost in a playoff. The other was against Will Zalatoris at the start of the PGA Tour postseason.
"I played good golf on a tough Sunday," said Straka, 29, who won the Honda Classic in February for his first PGA Tour victory. "Giving yourself chances to win out here it key. The more you can do that, the more comfortable you'll be."
For Hughes, it had been six years since his lone victory, also in a playoff, at the RSM Classic.
Garrick Higgo (68) missed the playoff by a stroke but avoided having to share third place with fellow South African golfer Dean Burmester (67), who was alone in fourth at 15 under.
Chattanooga's Stephan Jaeger (71) tied for 30th at 8 under, and fellow Baylor School graduate Luke List (70) shared 73rd at 2 under.
Hull's drought over
THE COLONY, Texas — Charley Hull put a little extra time into putting practice, and it paid off for her in a big way during the final round of The Ascendant LPGA as she ran off four birdies on the back nine at Old American Golf Club and closed with a 7-under 64 to win on the LPGA Tour for the first time in nearly six years.
The 26-year-old from England crossed the $1 million mark in season earnings while posting the second win of her LPGA Tour career. She won the season-ending Tour Championship in November 2016 for her first but had two wins on the Ladies European Tour since then, in January 2019 and October 2021.
Hull finished at 18-under 266, one ahead of China's Xiyu "Janet" Lin, whose 35-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th had given her a share of the lead, but only momentarily.
Hull hit a lob wedge from 78 yards to four feet on the 17th and made that for her final birdie, taking a one-shot lead to the final hole. Lin's birdie putt to force a playoff lost speed and missed just to the left, giving her a third runner-up finish this year and her second in a month.
Australia's Lydia Ko was tied for the lead until missing a couple of birdie chances from inside 10 feet. She shot a 65 and finished third, which moved her to the top of the season-long Race to the CME Globe standings.
Fox thinks of friend
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Ryan Fox paid tribute to former pro-am teammate Shane Warne after a one-stroke victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the 35-year-old New Zealander's second DP World Tour win this year and his third overall on the European circuit.
Fox finished second in last year's team event in Scotland alongside Warne, an Australian cricket legend who died in March at age 52. Fox made seven birdies and three bogeys in the final round on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
"The only person I can really think of at the moment is Warne," Fox said. "He meant a lot to me and this event and was a great mate. It's a terrible shame he's not here."
Fox's mother and father — former All Blacks rugby star Grant Fox — are in Europe for a month and were at the home of golf to watch as their son closed with an impressive 4-under 68 to finish at 15-under 273, one stroke ahead of Sweden's Alex Noren (69) and England's Callum Shinkwin (67).
Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland closed with a 66 and shared fourth with France's Antoine Rozner (69) at 13 under.
The event was staged at a trio of Scotland's storied courses, with the entrants playing one round each at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and the Old Course over the first 54 holes.