By Ken MacLeod
Chase Hughes of Oklahoma City has a chance, however slight, to be one of the youngest golfers ever to play in a PGA Tour event.
Hughes, 13, played as an amateur in a two-day North Texas PGA Players Tour event Monday and Tuesday at Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club in Rockwall, Texas. The first round served as a pre-qualifier for the Monday qualifier for the PGA Tour’s Mexico Open Feb. 22-25 in Vallarta, Mexico.
Those who finished top seven and ties made it to the Monday qualifier and Hughes tied for seventh with a 3-over 75.
“That was very impressive for a 13-year-old,” said Davis Markham, the coordinator of championships for the North Texas PGA Section. “Especially considering the course was playing its full length of over 7,000 yards and was wet after three inches of rain.”
The field consisted of mostly of mini-tour professionals including some who have played full seasons on the Korn Ferry or PGA Tours.
The Monday qualifier will be held Feb. 12 at Black Hawk Country Club in Richmond, Texas. There will be approximately 80 players for four spots.
Hughes shot rounds of 75-72 in the North Texas event to finish tied for 11th at 3-over in a field of over 60 professionals. Longtime Oklahoma mini-tour professional Logan McCracken of Oklahoma City tied for 40th at 10-over, to give some perspective on how well Hughes played.
Hughes, who has been dominant in junior golf on the U.S. Kids circuit, PGA Jr. League and won an AJGA event – the Lubbock Junior All Star – in 2023, already has a swing speed of 115 mph, just above the PGA Tour average.
“Chase has an opportunity to push the envelope and do some really special things,” said his instructor Ryan Rody, the director of instruction at Southern Hills Country Club. “He’s a better communicator, has matured and got a lot better over the last year and is going to be really fun to watch. It’s rare to have the combination of power and finesse that he does.”
Hughes will compete this year on the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour and in qualifiers for USGA Championships as well as on the AJGA circuit.
A Chinese golfer, Guan Tianlang, was 14 when he competed in The Masters in 2013. A golfer named Don Dunkelberger was one day shy of his 12th birthday when he played a single round in the 1937 Chicago Open.