By Andrew Both
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Reuters) - Mackenzie Hughes has played a lot of golf but says his ball that lodged in a tree during the final round of the U.S. Open on Sunday was a first.
Joint overnight leader Hughes was still in the hunt when he hooked his five-iron tee shot at the par-three 11th at Torrey Pines.
His ball bounced off a cart path and into the tee before nestling snugly on top of a branch among the foliage.
After officials helped Hughes identify the ball with the help of TV video, he took a penalty stroke, chipped on and two-putted for a double-bogey that pretty much ended his victory hopes.
"It's like a one-in-a-million break," the Canadian said after shooting six-over-par 77 to finish equal 15th, seven shots behind Spanish champion Jon Rahm.
"I've played golf my entire life, I've never had a ball stuck in a tree. For it to happen on the back nine of a U.S. Open..."
Hughes acknowledged that a poor shot led to his predicament, but wondered what might have been had the ball ended in a better spot.
"I hit a bad shot, but I was left of the green with lots of green to work with, and who knows what would have happened.
"Just a really bad break, and an unfortunate time to have it happen," he said.
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Robert Birsel)