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Mackenzie Hughes on early celebration: ‘I knew about a foot out’

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Mackenzie Hughes knew the putt was good.

Everything else was a blur.

As Hughes’ winning putt on the second playoff hole rolled toward the cup, the 31-year-old Canadian, who hadn’t lifted a PGA Tour trophy since capturing his first six years ago, clenched his right hand into a fist and loaded up. By the time the ball dropped, securing Hughes the win Sunday at the Sanderson Farms Championship, he’d had already begun to unleash the fist pump.

“I'm unaware of that,” Hughes said later of his early celebration. “I didn't realize at what point I started celebrating, but I knew about a foot out that it was going right in the middle. That was like the best feeling in the world.”

The par-4 finishing hole at the Country Club of Jackson had previously been good to Hughes. In regulation, he cozied a 105-foot putt from the fairway cut to inside 4 feet to set up a playoff-forcing par.

Then, on the first extra trip on No. 18, Hughes got up and down from the greenside bunker, canning a 5-footer for par to extend.

Both putts offered Hughes good teaches.

“The putt itself was really straight,” Hughes said of his winner from about 7 feet, “and I was kind of fortunate in that in regulation I had about a 3½-footer from a little left of that, and then on the first playoff hole I had a 5-footer from just right of that. I felt like I was right in the middle of those two. In regulation, I felt like my putt was going a little bit right, the first playoff hole was going a hair left, and then this one was really straight.

“Again, felt fortunate that I had landed in that spot where I was comfortable with the read. Felt like I was confident in what it was going to do, and I played it right in the middle of the hole and it went dead straight. That was pretty sweet.”

So, too, was the early fist pump.