ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – The 2016 PGA Tour season refuses to end.
After a frenzied round of lead changes and two extra holes, play was suspended for the day as darkness settled in over Sea Island Resort to force a Monday finish at the RSM Classic.
Mackenzie Hughes, who was trying to become the first player since Camilo Villegas in 2008 to win his first Tour title with a wire-to-wire victory, missed a 10-footer for birdie in darkness on the second extra hole (No. 18) that would have ended the playoff, and the official ’16 Tour season.
“It was quite a fight out there, and I didn't have my best stuff by any means, but found a way to dig deep and just get in that playoff,” Hughes said. “I thought I made that putt there at the end, but try again tomorrow.”
After three days of near-flawless play, Mackenzie struggled on Sunday with his first three bogeys of the week (he made a triple bogey-7 on No. 11 on Saturday). He retook a share of the lead with a birdie at the 14th hole and finished with a 69 and 17-under total.
Playing on a sponsor exemption, Norlander made the day’s biggest move, posting a bogey-free 65 that included a 5 footer for birdie at the 72nd hole to secure his spot in the playoff.
“I knew I had to birdie the last to have a chance,” said Norlander, who finished 179th on the FedEx Cup points list and lost his Tour card last season.
It was the only birdie made by the five players who finished tied at 17 under despite having 14 looks at the par 4. In the fivesome’s defense, there were only 12 birdies made at the final hole all day by the entire field.
Villegas, who hasn’t won on Tour since the 2014 Wyndham Championship, had the best look at birdie on No. 18 - the site of both extra holes - in the first overtime frame, but his 15-footer came up short.
“People on TV have no clue how dark it is right now,” Villegas said. “I was just telling those guys, that last putt I was just like hit it in the middle of the hole, hit it a little firm. I had no clue which way it was going.”
Horschel had a chance to separate himself in regulation but his 27-footer for birdie on the 18th slipped just past the hole, and he three-putted in fading light from 19 feet for bogey at the first playoff hole.
“I just missed that putt,” said Horschel after he was eliminated. “But you know what, it's golf, it happens. I played really well today.”
There have been three five-man playoffs in the last 15 seasons on Tour, the last coming at the 2015 Puerto Rico Open.