PCCC’ 2016 champ wins on PGA Tour

Courtesy of the Web.com Tour:

Golf is the funniest of games, and Canadian Mackenzie Hughes’ rise from the brink of Q-School to PGA TOUR winner in the span of five months is the latest example of the sport’s fickleness.

Hughes, who captured the Web.com Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper in August, won The RSM Classic on the PGA TOUR in five-man playoff early Monday morning from Sea Island, Georgia.

The Canadian, who turns 26 on November 23, had a chance to win late Sunday but his birdie try slid just by (in the dark). He, along with Camilo Villegas, Blayne Barber and Henrik Norlander then returned to the par-3 17th Monday morning. All four hit less-than-stellar tee shots, leaving each with tough chips.

Hughes then nailed a 15-foot par putt from off the green, while the par-saving tries of Villegas, Barber and Norlander all missed.

It was the native of Dundas, Ontario’s ninth PGA TOUR event, and just fifth as a TOUR member after finishing in The 25 this year on the Web.com Tour.

But ask Hughes about his 2016, and, although it ended in jubilation both on the course and off (he married his longtime girlfriend Jenna Shaw on October 22 at a picturesque plantation in North Carolina), it started with questions about whether or not he would even make it through one of the Web.com Tour reshuffles.

“I was in the Monday qualifier for the LECOM Health Challenge and I missed the Monday by a few shots, then ended up getting in the next day on my number. It was a like a second chance on life there,” he said. “That was really the finish that propelled me to where we are today (he finished tied for fifth). Without that tournament, without getting in that week, who knows where I am right now. I might be back at Q-School. It’s pretty crazy to think that that’s where I was and here’s where I am now.”

Hughes missed only one cut for the rest of the Web.com Tour season after that finish, and notched his first Web.com Tour victory a few weeks later by a shot over Richy Werenski, essentially locking up his PGA TOUR card.

He had only made five cuts up to that point in the schedule and was really thinking about what his future might entail, knowing that his wedding was imminent.

It was also his second time around the Web.com Tour schedule, after capturing the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada’s money list title in 2013 and earning full status on Tour. He struggled, though, admitting he was overwhelmed by the stage.

“There was a bigger schedule, more demanding, (more travel), this and that,” he explained. “It was a big growing year for me, and then when I got back out there again this year, I kind of had a sense of knowing what to do and where to go.”

Thanks to a tie for fifth at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco during the Web.com Tour Finals, there was no doubt Hughes was going to be able to secure spots in some of the early events during the 2016-17 TOUR season.

He kick-started his year with a bang, finishing tied for 13th at the Safeway Open, which gave him the confidence he needed for this week in Sea Island.

Napa gave me a bunch of confidence because I didn’t feel like I played my absolute best.  But I finished 13th there, and I was only five away from Brendan Steele’s winning mark at 18 under. So that gave me some confidence just to tell me that if I’m just a bit sharper, if I’m a bit cleaner and I have my week with the putter, I can win out here,” he stated. “So I believed that leaving Napa, I believed that I could win out here, which is huge. That’s half the battle to winning out here, is just believing you can.

“That week in Napa was probably equally as big as the fifth-place finish I had in New York at the LECOM Health Challenge,” Hughes continued.

Hughes, who received ‘good luck’ wishes from Mike Weir, will join his countryman at Augusta National next April, as, along with the winner’s check in excess of $1 million, he also received an invite to the first major of next year.

“Augusta is where I’ve dreamed of playing since I was a teenager,” said Hughes, who visited the course in 2010 and 2011 for practice rounds. “I told myself I would never go back until I was playing.  So I’m excited to go, drive down Magnolia Lane and give it a shot down there.”

From grinding on the road of the Web.com Tour, to driving down the road to one of the world’s most iconic golf courses, Hughes’ journey is just another unique one in the world of golf.

What a night: Harvest Moon Festival raises $100,000

harvest-moon-1

The charities of the 27th Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper received yet another positive boost.

The tournament’s third annual Harvest Moon Festival presented by Reinhart Foodservice, a culinary event and auction, generated almost $100,000 on Sunday night at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Oasis Convention Center.

Proceeds will go toward the overall gifting from the PCCC, whose Celebration of Sharing presented by the McQueary Family is scheduled November 29 at Highland Springs Country Club. The PCCC, a PGA Web.com Tour event, benefits 45 Ozarks children’s charities.

dsc00392

Auction items included golf packages to The Master’s and TPC Sawgrass as well as a getaway to Casa Suenos, a resort in Mexico with a full-service kitchen staff and five ocean-facing suites. A number of internationally trained chefs cooked culinary delights on a night when wonderful music in the style of the 1940s big band sound flowed from the Wings of Swing. Additionally, local artist Cindy Scott painted a “live” portrait of the evening, with her rendering selected in the live auction.

“We cannot thank all of our sponsors and their guests enough for the outpouring of support,” Tournament Executive Director Jerald Andrews said. “We also appreciate all those who gave their time to this great cause. Funds raised certainly will help our charities in their missions.”

dsc00351

Representatives of three charities – Burrell Children’s Youth Services, Ambassadors for Children and the H.O.P.E. Foundation – expressed appreciation.

“We treat those who have been sexually abused. We treat those who have been passed around by addicted parents for sexual favors so they can get their next fix. We treat children who were raised in dog kennels,” said Denise Mills, Director of Corporate Services for Burrell Children’s Youth Services. “We thank you so much for your support. Without you, we can’t do it.”

Denee Fay of Ambassadors for Children, an organization which buys new clothes for foster children, told the crowd of a recent foster mother who has welcomed six children – all under age 7 – and a baby.

“She was able to get brand-new clothes for all those kids in her home – winter coats, too – everything to really set those kids up for success,” Fey said. “Those stories are made possible through this tournament and through people who donate to Ambassadors for Children. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support and what you are doing through the Price Cutter Charity Championship.”

dsc00402

Mary Beth Hankins echoed those comments. She is the Family Services Officer of the H.O.P.E. Foundation, which helps cover monthly home bills for families whose infants and children suddenly require hospital emergencies.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for the Price Cutter Charity Championship and all of its supporters,” Hankins said. “We have seen such tremendous growth since we joined the tournament four years ago. We’ve gone from helping one family a month to almost 10 a month. Which is huge.

“We’re able to pay for things like mortgages when families are battling cancer in Memphis. They are there for months on end. … And, unfortunately, sometimes they lose that battle, and we’re able to come in and pay for the funeral costs to bury their child.”

The PCCC has one additional event coming up on Friday, the Burrell Children’s Services Poker Run Golf Classic. It begins at 9 a.m. at Silo Ridge Golf & Country Club in Bolivar, and team openings are available by calling 417-887-3400.