“INSIDE THE ROPES WITH THE COMMISH”
Canada’s #1 Golfer Adam Hadwin Proves Sponsor Exemption Worthy
Twenty-three year old Abbotsford Professional Adam Hadwin made his mark on the PGA Tour for the fourth time this year, working his way up the leader board against one of the strongest fields in the Frys.com Open history that included a celebrity cast of major winners Tiger Woods and Ernie Els.
Starting the final round 3 shots back of leader Briny Baird, VGT Member Adam Hadwin came out flying on the day with birdies on his first two holes to get within one shot of the lead. Unfortunately a couple of untimely 3 putts on the 4th and 6th holes pushed ‘Hads’ back to -10 for the tourney and even par for the day.
Meanwhile Hadwin’s playing partner Bryce Molder was making a move of his own after a birdie of his own on #2 and two super sand saves on 3 and 4, as he began catching fire on the front nine, making birdies on hole 5 and 9 to get to -13 for the tourney.
With his Vancouver entourage on hand (Global TV’s Jay Janower, cameraman Al Coen, VGT Commissioner Fraser Mulholland & three of his Belfor sponsors) Hadwin kept driving the ball extremely long and straight off the tee all day (and would be noted on the PGA Tour’s website as being the 2nd longest in the field all week). What lacked on the day was Hadwin’s ability to nail down some short par putts at the right moments to maintain his momentum on the round and to capitalize on some decent birdie chances throughout the day.
Hadwin would make a few more birdies on the back nine, including an up and in from the front of the green on the 605 yard par 5 – 12th hole that only 3 players managed to reach in two all week. But a poor pitch on the 14th led to another bogey which slowed any mounting charge he would start, and with his playing partner Molder racking up birdies on 10, 12 and 13, Hadwin’s chances of a win were slipping away as he was running out of holes.
This didn’t stop Hadwin from displaying some remarkable shot- making on the closing holes however as he reached the front edge of the par 5-15th with a 3-iron from 230 yards uphill, where he would pitch up to 3 feet for the tap-in birdie. A near miss for birdie on the 16th par 3 was followed up with a fantastic drive on the reachable par 4- 17th hole over the water hazard to 18 feet. As with many of his putts on this final round, his eagle try slipped right by the edge of the hole only not to fall in. His eagle effort was given great appreciation from the massing crowd on 17, showing all of us in attendance that he is no longer just known as Canada’s #1 Golfer, but that he has officially hit the radar on the international golf scene!
Rounding out the event, Hadwin would finish off his 18th hole with a bit of disappointment, three putting for his 3rd time of the day, this time from 40 feet from the front of the green. However, looking at the bigger picture, for only his 5th ever PGA Tour event, Hadwin’s final round of 70 (-1) was a very respectable score to close out a successful Frys.com tourney. His 72 hole total of -11 was good for a tie for 7th place in the field and a pay day of $130,000, which also got him into the Canadian Golf record books, as he and two fellow Canadians (David Hearn and Matt McQuillan) also finished in a tie for 7th. This was the first time in history of the PGA Tour that 3 Canadians finished in the top 10 in the same tournament.
As the Vancouver entourage and media wrapped up their interviews with Canada‘s #1 golfer, the remainder of the tournament concluded in the back drop as Bryce Molder and Briny Baird both finished at -17 for the tourney and would head into a sudden death playoff. After 6 incredible playoff holes (the PGA Tour’s longest playoff this year), it was Hadwin’s playing partner Bryce Molder who managed to outlast Briny Baird to came away with the Frys.com Open tournament crown!
The top story of the day was that Hadwin’s top 10 finish guaranteed him a spot into next week’s McGladrey Classic, the PGA Tour’s 2nd last event of the year. His $130,000 cheque vaults Hadwin into year earnings of $432,000 which currently positions him in 145th on the PGA Tour money list (if he was a PGA Tour member). Hadwin will need to make approximately $650,000 if he wants to avoid PGA Tour Q-School (and earn full Membership status on the PGA Tour for ’12) and about $450,000 if he wants a straight birth into final stage of PGA Tour Q-School.
Hadwin currently is exempt thru to the 2nd stage of Tour School, but will be in Sea Island, Georgia for the McGladrey Classic to make his 6th straight PGA Tour cut and prove to the PGA Tour that he not only belongs out there full time, but that given enough starts, this 23 year old Canadian will win his first PGA Tour event before long!
You can follow all of Adam Hadwin’s progress at the McGladrey Classic that runs Oct. 13-16th by clicking http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/r493/.
To follow my hole-by-hole analysis of Adam’s final round at the FRYS.COM OPEN, click http://twitter.com/vancouvergolf
For a summary of Adam Hadwin’s golf career, please visit his personal website at http://adamhadwin.com.
GO HADS GO!!!