Talor Gooch wins RSM Classic, Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes finishes second

Talor Gooch, right, holds the championship trophy while standing next to his wife Ally, left, and 4-month-old daughter Collins after the final round of the RSM Classic golf tournament, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in St. Simons Island, Ga. (Stephen B. Morton/AP)

ST. SIMONS, Ga. – Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes saved his best for last, but fell just short.

Hughes of Dundas, Ont., closed with an 8-under 62 Sunday at the RSM Classic to finish in second place, three strokes behind winner Talor Gooch of the U.S.

Gooch won his first PGA Tour title with a final round of 6-under 64 at Sea Island.

But Hughes was right there with him.

“I knew it was going to require a low one today and if you told me I would have shot 62 I thought I might be pretty close,” Hughes said. “But Talor obviously played great this week and deserved to win.”

Hughes, who won the tournament in 2016, rallied from the group ahead of Gooch with four birdies among his last six holes, capped by a 20-foot putt at No. 18 for a 19-under 263 overall.

He shot 63 in the tournament’s opening round, but followed that with a 68 on Friday and 70 on Saturday.

The Canadian started Sunday’s final round the way he eventually ended it _ putting birdie after birdie to put pressure on Gooch.

Hughes ran off two short birdie putts on the first two holes, then added another on No. 5. Two holes later he sank a 10-foot putt for birdie, and again from eight feet on No. 9.

His 5-under 30 on the front nine kept him in the hunt.

But Gooch was playing too well to get fazed.

The American ran off three birdies in four holes to start the back nine and tied the tournament record of 22-under 260 set by Kevin Kisner in 2014. He became the seventh player in the 12-year history of the event to make the RSM Classic his first victory.

The win moved him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings, to No. 33 in the world ranking and to Augusta National in April for the Masters.

“To finish the fall season off like I just did, it’s a dream come true,” Gooch said.

Sebastian Munoz (65) was alone in third and Tyler McCumber (60), Cameron Smith (64), Tom Hoge (67) and Seamus Power (68) tied for fourth.

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., closed with a 3-under 67 to finish tied for 22nd. Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont. (67), was one stroke behind him and Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont. (68), tied for 29th at 8 under.

Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C. (68) finished at 4 under, two strokes ahead of Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C. (68).

–with files from the Associated Press

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