A win this week would go a long way to push the 2016-17 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award Hughes’ way. There are strong contenders in the race including Xander Schauffele, Wesley Bryan and Grayson Murray, but none have multiple wins. They’re all in the same ball park as far as missed cuts and top-10s go, too.
Hughes is far removed from his win last fall at the RSM Classic, but he’s been relatively steady in the last 12 months to become the highest-ranked FedEx Cup rookie in the field.
The 26-year-old Canadian has made the cut in both playoff events and showed nicely last week. Hughes had his best finish since February, carding a Sunday 67 to tie for 13th at the Dell Technologies Championship.
Hughes is ninth in the regular season and playoffs in strokes gained putting and should be comfortable on Conway Farms’ bentgrass greens. Hughes won on bentgrass at the 2016 Price Cutter Charity Championship on the Web.com Tour.
At 7,198 yards Conway Farms is not an overly long course, which could play in to the hands of a shorter hitter like Hughes (293.5 yards driving distance, 86th on Tour).
This will be Hughes’ first time seeing the course as he did not compete at the 2009 Western Amateur, 2012 US Mid-Amateur or 2013 and 2015 BMW Championship hosted at Conway Farms.
If he can get in the mix come Sunday, he’ll have a good shot. He’s 38th on Tour in final round scoring, his best mark of any round.