Brian Decker – PGA Tour Canada
September 1, 2013, Peterborough, ON (ISN) – Denver, Colorado’s Mark Hubbard captured his first PGA TOUR Canada win on Sunday, firing a final round 5-under par 66 to win The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial. Hubbard won by two shots over Dundas, Ontario’s Mackenzie Hughes and Laurel, Maryland’s Kyle Stough.
Third round Leaderboard – The Wildfire Invitational presented by PC Financial
(Bold denotes Canadian)
1. Mark Hubbard – 66 (-20)
T-2. Mackenzie Hughes – 67 (-18)
T-2. Kyle Stough – 66 (-18)
4. Jorge Fernandez-Valdes – 66 (-17)
5. Nick Taylor – 68 (-16)
The 24-year old made a clutch 15-footer for birdie at the par-5 16th to reach 20-under par and give himself a three-stroke advantage at the time, then parred the final two holes to secure his win. With the victory, Hubbard moves to no. 5 on the Order of Merit, in position to earn one of the five Web.com Tour cards available at season’s end.
“I had to be in the moment and really had to focus on each shot, so the whole thing hasn’t really kicked in yet,” said Hubbard. “The putt on 16 was one of the best putts I’ve ever hit in my life.”
Starting the day with a one shot lead over Hughes, Hubbard went out in 3-under par on the front nine, building a lead over Hughes, Stough and several other contenders that he would not relinquish. Hubbard said several key up-and-downs including a brilliant flop shot at the par-3 15th were the key to his victory.
“I had two or three up-and-downs that were some of the best of my life,” said Hubbard. “That one on 15 was probably the shot of my life. I put a lot of work in the last two weeks and it’s nice to see it pay off.”
With two events to go, Hubbard is in position to make the next step on the path to the PGA TOUR next year on the Web.com Tour. But the San Jose State University graduate said blocking any thoughts about the ramifications of a win was a major factor in his win.
“Between playing down in Latioamérica, up here and in Q-School, guys have three chances to get to the Web.com Tour,” said Hubbard. “But you can’t really think about stuff when you’re playing, you just have to go out and play, and that’s what I feel like I did the best this week.”
Two shots behind in a tie for second, Hughes notched a career-best finish while Stough matched his career-best set earlier this year at the ATB Financial Classic presented by TELUS. PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit no. 2 Jorge Fernandez-Valdes finished alone in fourth at 17-under par for his best PGA TOUR Canada result, while Abbotsford, British Columbia’s Nick Taylor notched his fifth top-10 of the season and finished alone in fifth at 16-under par.
Hubbard moves inside The Five with two events to go
Mark Hubbard’s win moved him in position to earn one of the five Web.com Tour cards available at season’s end, pushing out Times Colonist Island Savings Open winner Stephen Gangluff, while the rest of the top four remained intact. Here are The Five with two events remaining in the 2013 season:
1. Riley Wheeldon – $39,937.50
2. Wil Collins – $39,708.04
3. Joe Panzeri – $37,355.23
4. Hugo Leon – $37,167.00
5. Mark Hubbard – $35,451.29
Hughes earns second top Canadian award
With an 18-under total in a tie for second, Dundas, Ontario’s Mackenzie Hughes captured Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week honours for the second consecutive event, following up his honour from The Great Waterway Classic last week.
Each week, the top Canadian will earn the award and a $1,500 prize, with the top Canadian on the Order of Merit at season’s end earning Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year and $10,000 prize.
Hughes also finished tied for low Canadian at The Players Cup but lost on a tiebreaker to Regina, Saskatchewan’s Kent Eger. The 22-year old Hughes is currently the 12th on the Order of Merit and the fourth-highest Canadian, trailing Riley Wheeldon, Nick Taylor and Cory Renfrew.
– Weather: Sunny, 25 degrees Celsius, wind 10 km/h
– Hubbard’s total of 264 strokes was the lowest winning score on PGA TOUR Canada this year
– Hubbard is the second 54-hole leader to go on to win this season, following Joe Panzeri at the ATB Financial Classic presented by TELUS
– Hubbard’s final round 66 was tied for the lowest final round by a winner this season, matching three other tournaments
– Hubbard’s win was his sixth top-10 finish of the past two seasons on PGA TOUR Canada
– Nick Taylor and Chris Epperson both finished in the top-10 for their fifth top-10s of the season, tied for the most on PGA TOUR Canada
– The par-4 seventh hole played as the toughest hole of the week at 4.41 strokes, while the par-5 eighth was the easiest at 4.48