Canadian Adam Hadwin survived a late scare to claim his first PGA title with a one-shot win at the Valspar Championship in Innisbrook, Florida.
The 29-year-old, who carded a round of 59 in January, began the final round with a four-stroked lead But he put his tee shot into the water at the 16th, made a double bogey and was tied for the lead at 14 under.
However, Hadwin parred in for a level-par 71 and Patrick Cantlay bogeyed the last to finish second.
Hadwin earns his first career PGA TOUR victory at the age of 29 years, 4 months and 10 days in his 78th start. With the win, Hadwin collects 500 points and moves from No. 15 to No. 4 in the FedExCup standings. With the win, Hadwin is projected to gain nearly 50 spots in the Official World Golf Rankings and move near the top 50 after beginning the week at No. 98. With his win, Hadwin becomes the 14th Canadian to win on the PGA TOUR, joining George Knudson, Mike Weir, Ian Leggatt, Stan Leonard, Richard Zokol, Dan Halldorson, Dave Barr, Al Balding, Jules Huot, Al Johnston, Stephen Ames, Nick Taylor and Mackenzie Hughes. (Ames and Johnston became Canadian citizens prior to winning).
Hadwin expressed what it felt like getting the win and an invitation to the Masters,”Yeah, it’s almost one of those things where you just don’t really think it’s going to happen. You talk about it and you sort of plan for it kind of on the outside of hoping to get into the Masters, and to have it happen, I can’t wait to take that first trip down Magnolia Lane and join Mackenzie (Hughes) and soak it all in.”
Patrick Cantlay said despite securing his PGA Tour car he was disappointed he didn’t win, ” It didn’t really feel like a burden to begin with. I’m not too worried about that. You know, it doesn’t really feel like much consolation at the moment. I didn’t finish the deal.”
This marks Hadwin’s first time converting a 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR in two tries. After shooting 59 in the third round of this year’s CareerBuilder Challenge, he held a 1-stroke lead but finished one shot back of Hudson Swafford. Hadwin’s win continues the youth movement on the PGA TOUR, with 12 victories (out of 17) by players in their 20s. Hadwin is a two-time winner on both the Web.com Tour (2014 Chile Classic, 2014 Chiquita Classic) and the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada (2010 Desert Dunes Classic, 2011 Pacific Colombia Tour Championship). He went on to secure the top spot on the Web.com Tour’s money list in 2014.
Hadwin’s stats for the week:
R1 – 7 of 13 fairways, 13 of 18 greens in regulation, 29 putts.
R2 – 11 of 13 fairways, 14 of 18 greens in regulation, 25 putts. R3 – 8 of 13 fairways, 12 of 18 greens in regulation, 26 putts
R4 – 7 of 13 fairways, 12 of 18 greens in regulation, 29 putts.
Hadwin’s Strokes Gained Summary (week): Off-the-Tee -0.144 (T46) Approach-the-Green +8.215 (2nd) Around-the-Green +1.079 (25th) Putting +6.864 (4th) Total +16.014 (1st)
This week’s Valspar Championship was the last chance for players to get inside the top 64 in the Official World Golf Rankings and qualify for the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play. The event will be contested the week of March 20-26 at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas.
The PGA Tour travels to the Arnold Palmer Invitation this week.