Masters rookie Hadwin hopes to build on season’s success


AUGUSTA, Ga. – The magnitude of Adam Hadwin’s accomplishments sunk in Tuesday afternoon. Making his way through fabled Amen Corner at Augusta National Golf Club, they became real.

“We’ve seen this golf course so much on TV, seen so many different shots,” Hadwin said. “When we were back on the 13th tee (Tuesday), I almost had one of those moments. Just, ‘Holy … we are actually here.’ I played on Sunday, but there was no gallery on Sunday. You didn’t hear any roars or anything like that. Going back into that corner, you’ve got everybody perched there behind 12 and it’s pretty special.”

It’s been a pretty special year for the 2009 University of Louisville graduate and Masters rookie. 

Hadwin is here because he won the Valspar Championship last month, earning an automatic Masters invite. He got married March 24 and was supposed to be enjoying his honeymoon with wife, Jessica, last week in the French Polynesia. He spent the week preparing for his first trip to Augusta National instead.

 

“(Jessica) might have preferred Bora Bora a little bit better, but can’t beat the weather today,” Hadwin said on a sunsplashed afternoon. “We’re here at Augusta. Wow. I certainly have no complaints.”

The 29-year-old Canadian from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan belongs here because he’s played consistently excellent golf during his third season on the PGA Tour, recording four top 10s in just 11 starts this season. That includes a second-place finish at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, where he shot 59 in the third round before finishing one shot behind winner Hudson Swafford.

The night before the final round of the Valspar, Hadwin attributed his recent surge  to a change in attitude. Less frustration, less negativity. He saw the impact it had on his game and felt himself getting closer. He broke through with his first victory in his 78th career start on Tour.

“I kind of felt like it was coming,” Hadwin said. “I’ve been playing some good golf and I knew I could win. It was just a matter of putting everything together. And after that it wasn’t like a deep breath, like (because) I won I can exhale. It’s like, ‘OK, what’s next?’ I feel like I’ve just sort of kept doing that. What do I have to do next? What do I have to do on the next shot? What does this next putt look like? And I just kind of keep going. You don’t rest on one win. Let’s get two, let’s get five, let’s get 10. Let’s go into the Hall of Fame. Who knows what’s next?”

Hadwin’s internal questioning and desire to keep pushing forward came to a sudden halt Tuesday. Surrounded by fans at Augusta National, he was living in the moment. Enjoying it, if only for a short while.

He knows he can’t afford those moments once his first round begins at 9:06 a.m. Thursday alongside Zach Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen. Too much focus required at this course. Too many challenges ahead.

Too much recent success not to start picturing an even brighter future.

“Certainly, I’ve had a great run of events here,” Hadwin said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2017 holds in store for the rest of it.”

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