March Turning Into A Magical Month For Hadwin

Adam Hadwin Holds Valspar Trophy Follwing His First PGA TOUR Victory - Image Credit Kelly Murray

First A PGA TOUR Win And Now A Wedding. And Next Month, The Masters

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Adam Hadwin knew March was going to be a special time in his life. Just not this special.

His March 24th wedding in Scottsdale, Ariz., to fiancee Jessica Kippenberger figured to be the highlight of his year -- and still will be -- but Hadwin will also remember March 12, 2017 as another big day in his life.

His wedding will change his life and so will his first PGA TOUR win Sunday at the Valspar Championship on Florida’s west coast.

The 29-year-old Abbotsford native, a product of Ledgeview Golf Club, hung on to beat American Patrick Cantlay by one shot to earn the biggest win of his life.

Hadwin, who watched a four-shot lead evaporate on the back nine, clinched the win with a clutch up-and-down par from just behind the 18th green. Cantlay could not do the same from a greenside bunker.

The win earned Hadwin the winner’s cheque of $1.134 million US. It also fulfilled another longtime dream, earning him a spot in next month’s Masters tournament in Augusta, Ga. Hadwin was still trying to process it all in a conference call with Canadian reporters just over an hour after his win.

“What a treat,” Hadwin said of his spot in the Masters. “This is incredible, to be able to go there and be a part of the Masters, I am speechless. I am shaking, nervous, excited, I can’t wait to be on the grounds. I have friends who have gone and said it is absolutely everything everybody always talks about. I can’t wait to get there and to first set foot on the grounds and walk and play and just soak every bit of it in.”

There is one minor problem. His Masters invite means Hadwin’s honeymoon will have to be postponed. He and Jessica had scheduled a trip to Tahiti. “I am just hoping I can get my deposit back,” Hadwin joked. “We’ll have to figure out the honeymoon plans now. We didn’t discuss backup options.”

If you didn’t see this coming you haven’t been paying attention. Ever since he graduated from the University of Louisville in 2009, Hadwin has been getting better and winning along the way. Before joining the PGA TOUR as a regular three years ago, Hadwin won twice on what is now the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada circuit and twice more on the Tour.

And in recent weeks he has been on an impressive roll that included that 59 in the third round of the Career Builder Challenge tourney in La Quinta, Calif, where he finished second. A win was coming. It was just a matter of when.

image credit british columiba golf

Adam Hadwin Was Temporarily Overcome With Emotion When Interviewed By NBC & The Golf Channel Immediately After His Win

Hadwin had to endure some anxious moments coming down the stretch on Sunday. He sliced his tee shot on the par 4 16th hole into the water and made a double-bogey. Suddenly, his two-shot cushion was gone. He and Cantlay were all even as they headed to the 17th tee.

“I just told myself I am still in the tournament,” Hadwin said of the miscue on the 16th hole. “I talked to the media (on Saturday) and said if I could have a chance coming down 18 to win the golf tournament then I am in good position. Would I have liked to have been a couple up coming down 18? Sure, but I still had a chance to win the golf tournament.

It was exciting. It’s incredibly exciting to be in that position and to have to hit golf shots when you need to. And on 18, I hit two great golf shots and I really sort of put the pressure on him to get up and down. I am elated to be sitting here talking to you guys as the champion.”

Hadwin has made nine of 10 cuts since the beginning of the 2016-17 season last fall. He has three top 10s as well as 11th- and 12th-place finishes. In other words, he had been knocking on the door. He credits his play to a lot of hard work, great putting and being in a good place on and off the golf course.

“Everything has kind of happened at once,” Hadwin said. “My personal life, we are making big strides in that. I’m getting married in a couple of weeks and starting a life with a girl that I love and playing some tremendous golf now as well.

I've been really kind of at peace with my life for a little while now, happy with the place it is in. I have taken tremendous confidence into each and every round that I have played and my my game is really starting to show through on the golf course. It is just a really exciting time in my life right now.”

Hadwin’s win earns him a two-year exemption. He is now fully exempt on the PGA TOUR through the end of the 2018-19 season. He has risen to fourth on the FedEx Cup points list and has jumped inside the top 60 on the World Golf Ranking. That makes him eligible for those lucrative World Golf Championship events.

He’ll have to skip the WGC Championship Match Play tourney later this month in Austin, Tex. It conflicts with his wedding. He can get out of the honeymoon, but not the wedding.

Hadwin is now also in the mix for a spot on the International team at this fall’s Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. Like we said, his golf world has changed. “It certainly wasn’t something I was thinking about earlier in the year,” Hadwin said of the Presidents Cup.

“I was probably so far out of the mix. It has slowly crept into focus as I have continued to play good golf. We’ll see what this does for me. But again, that is one of those things that is only taken care of with good golf. I have to continue to go out there week in and week out and prove myself and continue to have some of these hot finishes. And if it works out with (captain) Nick Price and our assistant Mike Weir it would be a tremendous honour and is something I would not take lightly.”

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CHIPS SHOTS: Hadwin is sandwiched between Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at No. 4 on the FedEx Cup points list. . .Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent Hadwin a tweet congratulating him on his win and upcoming nuptials. . .Hadwin has now passed the $4.75-million mark in career earnings on PGA TOUR. He is the 14th Canadian to win on the PGA TOUR.