A good finish is nice, but it will always pale in comparison to a win.
Mackenzie Hughes knows that and was understandably disappointed in his third-place finish at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship.
Despite battling strong gusts and an up-and-down round, Hughes was tied for the lead heading to the final hole before a sloppy bogey dropped back to third behind eventual winner Hudson Swafford and runner-up Tyler McCumber.
"It's pretty disappointing," said Hughes, who finished second in this event a year before. "I was really sloppy around the greens today and I wasn't capitalizing where I should have been around the greens. As a result, I come up a couple short."
Hughes played the front nine at three-under 33 after making three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys and at one point found himself just a shot back of the lead. But Swafford pushed ahead by four shots after 12 holes before a double on the 13th and a Hughes birdie on 14 cut the lead to one.
Swafford made another bogey on 15 and the two were tied, soon to be joined by McCumber who birdied his final hole by rolling in a 25-footer.
But on 18, Hughes yanked his drive way left and took three more shots to reach the green where he ended up missing a six-footer for par. Along with a Swafford birdie on the difficult par-three 17th and a clutch par on the final hole, that ended the Canadian’s chances at getting a second PGA Tour win.
"I know it's still a good week," stated Hughes. "It's just being close a lot in the last little while and, you know, when you get close to winning a tournament, there's a big difference between top-five and a win. So I'll keep looking, trying to get a little better, but yeah, a lot of positives this week."
The result continued a streak of good play from the 29-year-old, who has finished inside the top 13 in four of his last five starts. After the restart, Hughes also finished tied for third at the Travelers Championship and sixth at the Memorial.
The latest finish pushed him to 48th on the Official World Golf Ranking, the first time he’s been inside the top 50.
Hughes’s strong play has been buoyed by a stellar short game. Last year, he finished sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green and eighth in Strokes Gained: Putting.