PALM HARBOR, Fla.—Canada's Adam Hadwin is skipping his first World Golf Championship and asking for a refund for his honeymoon to Tahiti.
He couldn't be happier.
Seven weeks after he shot a 59, and two weeks before his wedding, Hadwin added another eventful chapter to his amazing year.
He threw away a two-shot lead with three holes to play by hitting a tee shot into the water, but kept his wits and closed with two strong pars for an even-par 71 yesterday to win the Valspar Championship by one shot over Patrick Cantlay for his first PGA Tour.
“You're never quite sure when you're going to get the job done,” Hadwin noted.
"I just went there today and stuck to what I do best; just hit some quality golf shots and really made the game super easy outside of hole No. 16.
“I feel a little fortunate after that hole to be sitting here but I'll certainly take it, and I can't wait for everything that comes with this win,” he added.
The victory moves him to No. 51 in the world and makes him eligible for the Dell Match Play—except that he's getting married that week.
It also sends the 29-year-old Abbotsford, B.C. product to the Masters, meaning he will have to postpone that honeymoon to French Polynesia.
Instead, he'll be preparing for Augusta National—the place he called the “greenest place on Earth.”
Even with a four-shot lead going into the final round yesterday, all he wanted was a chance over the final few holes.
The trick was reminding himself he was right where he wanted to be.
Hadwin twice holed big birdie putts on the back nine at Innisbrook as Cantlay was in close for birdies of his own—a 25-footer on the par-five 11th and then a 55-footer on the par-three 13th to keep a two-shot lead.
But it all changed on the 16th—the start of a tough three-hole finish at the Copperhead Course.
His three-wood peeled off to the right and never had a chance, and Hadwin walked off the hole with a double-bogey and a tie for the lead
From the 18th fairway, Cantlay blinked first.
The former No. 1 amateur in the world, playing for only the second time after missing two years with a back injury, leaked his approach into a bunker.
Hadwin's approach, meanwhile, went just over the back against the collar of the fringe—leaving him a belly wedge down the grain that came off perfectly and settled two feet below the cup.
Cantlay's bunker shot was well short and he missed the 15-foot par putt to force a playoff.
The consolation prize for Cantlay was a runner-up finish that paid $680,400—more than enough for him to secure full status for the rest of the year.
“It doesn't really feel like much consolation at the moment,” Cantlay admitted.
“I didn't finish the deal.”
Hadwin is the third Canadian to qualify for the Masters, joining RSM Classic winner Mackenzie Hughes and 2003 champion Mike Weir.
He finished at 14-under 270.
His success earned praise from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Congratulations to Abbotsford's @ahadwingolf on winning the PGA's #ValsparChampionship today, and all the best on your upcoming wedding!” tweeted Trudeau.
Jim Herman (68) and PGA Tour rookie Dominic Bozzelli (67) tied for third, two strokes behind Hadwin.
David Hearn (70) of Brantford, Ont. tied for 18th at four-under, Graham DeLaet (67) of Weyburn, Sask. finished 22nd at three-under, and Nick Taylor (74) of Abbotsford was 62nd at five-over.