Skip to main content


Late surge leaves Hughes one back at RBC Heritage


Mackenzie Hughes turned a nice day into a great one at the RBC Heritage with a big finish at Harbour Town Golf Links, leaving him just a shot off the lead heading to the weekend.

Hughes was one-under par through his first 12 holes before making birdies on four of the next five to finish at five under. He sits at 10 under par through 36 holes.

“I really didn't have a ton going there up until 13,” Hughes stated. “I made a nice birdie on 13, got it to a couple under. We had a nice finish there. Nice birdie on 15 and a chip-in on 16.”

After some steady but not necessarily spectacular finishes to start his season, the Dundas, Ont., product came into this week on the heels of his two best tournament results, a tie for third at the Valspar and a tie for 14th at the Texas Children’s Houston Open. He chalked up the improved play to two different coaches.

“I've started working with a new coach in Charlotte, Mark Wood, and my swing is starting to feel better each week,” Hughes said, “and I'm seeing that on the golf course. Shots are improving out there, and I feel like for me, if I can get around tee to green pretty consistently, then my putter can go to work.

“Then obviously, too, I can't not credit John Sherman who I work with on my mental game. That's been a big help. We just kind of make sure that we're in the right head space going into each day, and that's been working so far.”

Hughes said that while playing well any week is his objective, the fact this week’s stop is sponsored by RBC makes it extra special. He has been an RBC Ambassador for some time, wearing the Canadian financial institution’s crest on his sleeve. RBC also sponsors the Canadian Open and has been a significant backer of Canadian golf on a number of other levels.

In addition to this week, Hughes is hoping some good play will help in a battle to grab one of two spots on the men’s Canadian Olympic team for the competition in Paris in August. That will be decided in June. He currently trails Corey Conners and Adam Hadwin for the second spot. Nick Taylor is in first.

Then there is the competition to make the International team for the Presidents Cup, which is taking place in Montreal in September. Mike Weir will be the team’s captain and his hope is to get as many Canadians on the 12-player team as possible.

To do that, he’ll need a good weekend. His record at this tournament isn’t great. He’s played the event six times and missed the cut on three occasions – including the last two years -- while logging a tie for 52nd as his best finish. But this year, he feels different about this tournament.

“I haven't really contended here before, but I feel like I've been here enough to kind of know this golf course,” said Hughes, “and my game has kind of matured. I feel like I'm a different player than I was the last few years.”

Hughes is also hoping for another win, this one on Saturday evening when his Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Boston Bruins in the first game of the NHL playoffs.

“We can beat those guys,” he said. “I know it's going to be a tough, hard-fought series. It's probably going to go six, seven games. Hopefully the boys come out on top.”