Honeymoon on Hold for Adam Hadwin After Maiden PGA Tour Victory
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
It has been on the cards for a while, and Adam Hadwin, of Canada, duly delivered his first victory at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook. But boy was he made to fight for it. He had been cruising until he put his ball in the water at the 16th, crashed to a double bogey and started to see his dreams crumbling before his eyes. But he regrouped and held on a for a one-shot victory that changes his life forever - it gets him into the field for next week's WGC World Matchplay and it also earns him an invitation to The Masters.
Hadwin lost a two-shot lead with one swing on the 16th hole when his tee shot sailed into the water but he somehow managed to keep his wits about him and close with two pars, which turned out to be good enough for a one-shot victory over Patrick Cantlay.
The victory sends him to Augusta National for the first time, even if it means altering a honeymoon trip to Tahiti.
Hadwin is getting married March 24.
"I just wanted a chance to win coming up the last, and I had that chance," Hadwin said. Tied for the lead at the 18th, and with Cantlay having come up short into a bunker, Hadwin went just over the back of the green against the collar of the fringe. He used the leading edge of a sand wedge to send it down the slope to two feet from the cup. Cantlay came up way short and missed his 15-foot par putt to force a playoff. He closed with a 68.
Hadwin is the third Canadian to qualify for the Masters, joining RSM Classic winner Mackenzie Hughes and 2003 champion Mike Weir.
The consolation prize for Cantlay was a runner-up finish that secures his full status for the rest of the year. He was playing for only the second time since 2014 because of a stress fracture in his back. He has endured a miserable time. Apart from the back injury, a year ago Cantlay and his best friend and caddie, Chris Roth, were walking to a restaurant for dinner in California when Roth was struck and killed by a car.
“It doesn't really feel like much consolation at the moment," Cantlay said about securing his card. "I didn't finish the deal.”
Hadwin finished at 14-under 270. He had a four-shot lead with 10 holes to play when Cantlay started to apply enormous pressure with an approach to three feet at the ninth and a birdie at the 10th. Cantlay had seven feet for a third straight birdie on the par-five 11th but Hadwin holed a birdie putt from 25 feet to keep a two-shot lead.
And at the 13th, Hadwin holed an outrageous putt from about 60 feet for another birdie. Cantlay followed him in from six feet, but the advantage was definitely with the Canadian. Cantlay made his fifth birdie in six holes with a 20-footer on the par-five 14th, only to fall two behind again with another poor bunker shot on the 15th.
Jim Herman and rookie Dominic Bozzelli tied for third, two strokes behind Hadwin. Tony Finau closed with a 64 to finish alone in fifth.
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