Around the wider world of golf: Charley Hull got her first LPGA win at the CME Group Tour Championship (Ariya Jutanugarn won POY, In Gee Chun won the Vare Trophy); Matthew Fitzpatrick won the DP World Tour Championship Dubai on the ET (Henrik Stenson won the Race to Dubai); Jordan Spieth won the Emirates Australian Open on the Australasian Tour; Brooks Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament on the Japan Golf Tour; Gaganjeet Bhullar won the BANK BRI-JCB Indonesia Open on the Asian Tour; Kent Bulle won the 111 VISA Open de Argentina on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; and Charlie Saxon won the Zhuhai Hengqing Phoenix Tree Open on the PGA TOUR China.
Well, it took one extra hole on a cold Monday morning, but we got our second rookie winner of the season.
More than that, we got the first wire-to-wire rookie winner in 20 years. (Tim "Lumpy" Herron was the last at the 1996 Honda Classic.) Mackenzie Hughes shot 61 in the first round of the RSM Classic to take the lead, and he kept it all the way to the end of regulation.
At which point Billy Horschel, Camillo Villegas, Henrik Norlander and Blayne Barber decided to make it a five-man playoff.
Horschel unexpectedly bowed out on the first hole when he missed a two-footer in the deepening gloom of Sea Island. He said he simply lost focus and didn't take enough time over the putt, but I have to wonder if the darkness didn't have something to do with it as well. I took a peek outside during the playoff -- I live in the same time zone -- and it certainly could have been a factor.
After two playoff holes they had to call it because of darkness and come back out at 8am Monday. It was around 40°F (that's around 4-5°C) and I imagine a bit damp. Nobody even hit the green on the par-3 and Hughes probably had the worst lie of the four. But he got up and down for par then watched in amazement as, one by one, the other players missed their par putts.
The newly-married Hughes obviously cleaned up with this win, and many will say the big perk was the Masters invite. (Personally, I bet his wife is more thrilled with the invite to January's Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. HONEYMOON IN PARADISE!)
But until then, perhaps the two lovebirds can be content with Mackenzie's first Limerick Summary. (Hey, I know it's not $1.08million but I'm working on a budget here...)
Mackenzie was hot from the startThe photo came from the wrap-up page at PGATOUR.com.
But he cooled as the last round went dark.
Four more men ran him down
But by Monday they found
That this wire-to-wire rookie's got heart.