Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas lines up a putt on the 18th green on final round day of the 2018 RBC Canadian Open, finishing as the top Canadian, tied for eighth.

Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas finished in a tie for 8th at the Canadian Open, but won the Rivermead Cup as the top Canadian professional.

It was the second time in two years Hughes has won the Cup, which has been awarded each year since 1936.

Hughes finished tied for eighth at 15-under par, eight strokes behind winner Dustin Johnson, the world's No. 1 ranked player.



Canadian Open: Yes, Mackenzie, that was ‘way cooler’

OAKVILLE — It was a pretty Canuck moment, the kind of sports marriage that the RBC Canadian Open people cherish in their fan-magnet "The Rink" area.

Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, playing the par-3 seventh at Glen Abbey, donned a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey for the walk up to his second shot from just off the green.

He assumed he'd remove the jersey to make his shot, but then began pondering options.

"I was trying to figure out if I could do it, if I could hit a chip without the sleeves getting in the way and the Leafs emblem all over my chest getting a little bunched up," said Hughes, who recorded his second straight 69 to sit at 6-under heading into weekend play.

"But I was, like, 'This is very chip-in-able and if I do it with the jersey on, it's way cooler.'"

So he left the sweater on, and indeed the ball went in, igniting the crowd around the seventh hole, part of which is framed-in by hockey rink boards.

Hughes, who had to finish his weather-delayed first round Friday morning by playing No. 18 (par) before starting his second round, has now gone 69 or better in four of his last five Canadian Open rounds at the Abbey.

But he hasn't been overly-enthused about his scores this week.

"I've played the par-5s at 1-under in two days, which is just not good enough," he said. "If I'm not average on par-5s, I'm right in the tournament right now."

He felt that if the leaders stayed at minus-13 or so, he "may have a chance with a couple of low ones on the weekend but first and foremost I've got play the par-5s better if I want to contend."

He was low Canadian last year at Glen Abbey at 10-under 278.

Dundas golfer Mackenzie Hughes has close encounter with a Tiger ... Tiger Woods, that is

“If you’re going to do Saturday early, you might as well do Saturday early with Tiger.”

Tiger Woods, left, shakes hands with Mackenzie Hughes, from Dundas, on the 18th green during the third round of the Players Championship golf tournament, Saturday, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. - Lynne Sladky , The Associated Press

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Mackenzie Hughes had not felt the jangled nerves and pressure to perform since he won his first PGA Tour event as a rookie 18 months ago. But this was Saturday morning. Breakfast was still being served in the clubhouse. He was 14 shots out of the lead at The Players Championship.

And he was playing with Tiger Woods.

"To be in an environment like that really gets your juices going," the Dundas native said. "It's 90 degrees, but I can assure you I had some goosebumps and shivers at times when you hear some of the roars and you realize, 'I'm playing with Tiger Woods.' It was fun.

Woods made it even more memorable with his best round at the TPC Sawgrass, and his lowest score the end of the 2015 season. Woods opened with eight birdies in 12 holes until his momentum slowed and he settled for a 65.

Hughes, who had missed 12 of 15 cuts this season, overcame a rough start with four straight birdies in the middle of his round and a 68.

Woods might have lost some of his mystique from when he was the dominant player for the better part of a decade. Even so, his effect is strong as ever, especially among younger players who grew up idolizing his golf — and especially when Woods plays as he did Saturday.

Two months ago, Hughes was having lunch at Bay Hill when Woods sat down a few chairs over. The Canadian said nothing. He just listened.

"He was 5 feet from me, but I had no real, valid excuse to say, 'Hey, I'm Mackenzie Hughes.' So I sat there quietly," Hughes said.

He had an excuse Saturday. Both made the cut on the number at 1-under 143. They finished about the same time, and Hughes knew there was a 50-50 chance for them to be paired in the third round. Confirmation came in a text from the tour, and Hughes couldn't wait.

"If you're going to do Saturday early, you might as well do Saturday early with Tiger," he said.


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