Palm Harbor, Florida
Second- and third-round leader Adam Hadwin orchestrated an even-par 36-35=71 in the final round of the Valspar Championship to post 14-under 270, good for a 1-shot win over sponsor invite and playing competitor Patrick Cantlay, two clear of Jim Herman and Dominic Bozzelli, who shared third.
The 29-year-old claims his first TOUR title in his 78th career start and earns a 2-year exemption on TOUR through the 2018-19 season. He also bagged invites to the 2017 Masters, PGA Championship, World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
Though not completely unexpected – the Canadian was a pre-tourney 80/1 outright – all maiden victories on TOUR are accompanied with a significant change in one’s life, particularly in scheduling. Which brings us to:
Scheduling conflict No. 1: his March 24th wedding date; right in the middle of the WGC-Match Play, so he’ll be missing that. The Match Play, that is. It would’ve been the Louisville alum’s debut in a WGC event.
Scheduling conflict No. 2: the honeymoon; scheduled during Masters’ week. Needless to say, the post-nuptial festivities have justifiably been postponed. He’ll/they’ll be celebrating his debut at Augusta National Golf Club in four weeks.
This was Hadwin’s third Valspar. In his previous two, he collected $11,682 for finishing 71st (last) in 2015 (68-75-75-76), and missing the cut last year (by three) with rounds of 79-69.
Hadwin’s share of the purse on Sunday: $1,134,000. In 27 events last season, he made $1,067,809 (20 cashes, six top 25s, two top 10s).
The win comes in Hadwin’s 10th start this season, is a fifth top 25 and third top 10. It brushes aside a previous-best 2nd at the CareerBuilder Challenge five starts ago, where he was the 54-hole leader by one, buoyed by a third-round 59.
Hadwin closed the CBC with 2-under 70, but lost by one to another first-time winner this season, Hudson Swafford, who shot 67.
This was the 17th playing of the Valspar with all 17 contested at the 7,340-yard par-71 (36-35) Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort.
Cumulative Scoring Average:
R1: 71.444*; R2: 71.613; R3: 72.014*; R4: 70.942
R1 was contested over two days due to 1-hour delay (fog) on Thursday.
72.014 in R3 was the highest third-round scoring average of season.
Hadwin posted rounds of 68-64-67-71 for 16.014 SG: Total.
After an opening 68, Hadwin was six strokes off the pace of first-round leader Herman. He surged to a 1-shot lead at the midpoint (over Herman) with an eight-birdie one-bogey 64, and extended to a 4-shot cushion (over Cantlay) with bogey-free 67.
Playing out of the final twosome with Cantlay, he mustered seven (of 13) fairways and 12 greens in regulation, losing 1.205 strokes tee-to-green but gaining 1.147 strokes with the flat stick.
Hadwin went out in even par, exchanging bogey-5 at six (failed scramble) with birdie-2 at eight (from 11’6”), now leading Cantlay by three.
He circled the par-5 11th (15'4") and then banged in a 53-footer for another birdie-2 at 13, but his margin was trimmed to two with Cantlay birdieing four of his previous five holes.
Hadwin parred 14 and 15, while Cantlay went birdie-bogey, so he still led by two heading to the Snake Pit.
At the par-4 16th, Hadwin watered his tee ball, leading to double bogey-6, while Cantlay parred, and the duo was now tied, staying that way heading to the par-4 18th.
Both players missed the green (from the fairway), with Hadwin blading a wedge from the fringe 33’10” away to tap-in distance, while Cantlay left himself a 15’7” par-saver from out of a greenside bunker, which he missed right.
Hadwin’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 69 players):
Birdies: 21 (T1)
Bogeys: 5 (T2)
Doubles: 1 (T33)
Par-3 Scoring: 2.70 (1st); two of his three birdies in R4 were on par 3s
Par-4 Scoring: 3.94 (T8)
Par-5 Scoring: 4.63 (T19)
Driving Distance (all drives): 274.0 yards (33rd)
Driving Accuracy: 33/52 (T27) at 63.46 percent
Greens in Regulation: 51/72 (T5) at 70.83 percent
Proximity to hole: 29’11” (5th)
Putts per GIR: 1.647 (2nd)
Total Putts: 109 (T9)
Putts by Round: 29-25-26-29
Scrambling: 16/21 (7th) at 76.19 percent
SG: Off-the-Tee: -0.144 (T46)
SG: Approach-the-Green: 8.196 (2nd)
SG: Around-the-Green: 1.081 (25th)
SG: Tee-to-Green: 9.132 (5th)
SG: Putting: 6.881 (4th)
Hadwin banks 500 FedExCup (FEC) points for the victory and bumps 11 places to a career-high 4th in the standings, 697 points behind leader Justin Thomas, who missed the cut by three. Thomas, a 3-time winner this season, has missed three of his last five cuts.
Top 10 in FEC standings (points):
1. Justin Thomas (1,737)
2. Hideki Matsuyama (1,736)
3. Dustin Johnson (1,353)
4. Adam Hadwin (1,040); UP 11
5. Jordan Spieth (1,010); DOWN one
6. Pat Perez (951); DOWN one
7. Jon Rahm (941); DOWN one
8. Brendan Steele (901); DOWN one
9. Gary Woodland (816); DOWN one
10. Rickie Fowler (773); DOWN one
Note: Mackenzie Hughes (idle), dropped from No. 10 to No. 11
With a Strength of Field rating of 290 (down from 358 last year), Hadwin collects 48.00 world-ranking points and jumps 47 spots to a career-high 51st in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
Top 10 in OWGR (this week’s finishes):
1. Dustin Johnson (idle)
2. Jason Day (idle)
3. Rory McIlroy (idle)
4. Hideki Matsuyama (idle)
5. Henrik Stenson (T7); UP one
6. Jordan Spieth (idle); DOWN one
7. Justin Thomas (MC)
8. Adam Scott (idle)
9. Rickie Fowler (idle)
10. Sergio Garcia (idle)
15 of the Top 50 in OWGR were in the field; TWO finished in the top 10:
No. 6 Henrik Stenson; top-ranked and pre-tourney fave finished T7 (64-71-71-70)
No. 28 Charl Schwartzel; defending champ finished 6th (70-70-67-68)
Avg. world ranking of the top-10 finishers: 239th
No. 12 Patrick Reed (T38)
No. 16 Bubba Watson (MC)
No. 20 Matt Kuchar (T22)
No. 21 Russell Knox (MC)
No. 34 Gary Woodland (T58)
No. 36 Daniel Berger (MC)
No. 37 Ryan Moore (T18)
No. 44 Bill Haas (T41); last year’s 54-hole leader (by one) and eventual playoff loser to Schwartzel.
Patrick Cantlay: The sponsor invite and World No. 1419 signed for a 3-under-par 35-33=68 after the final round to finish up his second appearance (MC/2013) on 13-under 271 (71-66-66-68). He catapults 1,180 spots to OWGR No. 239.
Inclusive of this week, the still PGA TOUR rookie had nine starts remaining on a medical extension in the reshuffle category -- that dated back to the 2014-15 season.
He needed to earn $606,849 to meet the terms of the extension and bagged $680,400, and will now play out of no worse than Category 22 in the Eligibility Ranking (Major Medical) for the remainder of the season.
This was the UCLA product's second start of the season, joining a T48 four weeks ago at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and just his third in the last two-and-a-quarter years (76th- and last-place finish at the OHL Classic in Nov. 2014). Overall, it was his 30th career TOUR start (22 pro) and third top 10, joining T9 (x2) at the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach and 2011 RBC Canadian Open (as an amateur).
For the week, the Long Beach, California, native was T1 in total birdies (21) and T6 in bogeys (eight); six versus three in the finale. He turns 25 on Mar. 17th.
A total of 70 players from a field of 143 pros and one amateur made the 36-hole cut of even-par 142:
38 (of 71) EARLY/late; 1 WD
Note: Sean O’Hair made the cut but WD prior to R3
32 (of 71) LATE/early; 1 WD
Exactly 10 players finished in the top 10. EIGHT were EARLY/late:
EARLY/late: Adam Hadwin (Won); Patrick Cantlay (2nd); Jim Herman (T3); Tony Finau (5th); Charl Schwartzel (6th); Henrik Stenson (T7); Russell Henley (T9); John Huh (T9)
LATE/early: Dominic Bozzelli (T3); Wesley Bryan (T7)
Yahoo! Low Rounds:
R1: Jim Herman (62); tied career low
R2: Adam Hadwin (64)
R3: Patrick Cantlay (66)
R4: Tony Finau (64); tied career low
Career Record as Leader/Co-Leaders (by round):
R1: Jim Herman; drops to 0-for-2
R2: Adam Hadwin; improves to 1-for-1
R3: Adam Hadwin; improves to 1-for 2
First-timers and/or Rookies:
Top-10 finishes: 2
Dominic Bozzelli: Playing out of the penultimate twosome, the World No. 233 finished up with a 4-under-par 34-33=67 and was top debutant on 12-under 272, up one place to a career-best T3. He leaps 90 spots to a career-high 143rd in OWGR.
This was the 25-year-old's 10th career start (10th as a member) and just a fourth cash. It’s his second top 10, each doubling as a top 5s, brushing aside a previous-best 5th at the CareerBuilder back in January.
For the week, the Auburn alum posted laps of 67-68-70-67 and carded 16 birdies against just four bogeys, No. 1-ranked in the latter.
Wesley Bryan: The World No. 78 submitted a 3-under-par 35-33=68 after the final round to finish up his tourney debut on 8-under 276, up two places to T7, six back. He nudges six spots to a career-high 72nd in OWGR.
This was the 26-year-old's 11th start of the season, third top 10, and third consecutive, arriving off a pair of career-best T4s (Honda Classic, Genesis Open), and jumps 21 places to a career-high 39th in the FEC standings.
For the week, the South Carolina alum totaled 19 birdies versus 11 bogeys and carded rounds of 68-68-72-68.
TOUR Rookies: 13
Top-10 finishes: 3
Cantlay took top rookie honors with Bozzelli and Bryan the other two top 10s.
Other Notable Finishes:
Jim Herman: Playing out of the penultimate twosome, the first-round leader and World No. 89 authored a 3-under-par 35-33=68 in the final round to cap off his third appearance on 12-under 272, good for a two-way T3. In his previous two visits, he missed the cut in 2013 (by six) and last year (by four).
It’s the 39-year-old’s second podium in 132 career events and bumps 13 spots to 76th in OWGR and 36 spots to 29th in FEC points. For the week, he signed for rounds of 62-71-71-68 and tallied 17 birdies versus five bogeys.
This was the University of Cincinnati product’s 11th start of the season, fourth top 25 and second top 10 (10th Sony Open). He began the finale five back in solo 3rd, the first time he’s been in the top 10 thru 54 holes in 26 starts, dating back to his maiden win at the 2016 Shell Houston Open, where he was a 54-hole co-leader.
Tony Finau: The World No. 77 fired a day-low bogey-free 7-under-par 33-31=64 in the final round to post 11-under 273, up eight places to solo 5th, three shy. In his previous two visits, he missed the cut in 2015 (by eight) and last year (by one).
The 27-year-old posted rounds of 67-72-70-64 en route to his fifth top 25 of the season (11 starts) and third top 10. His season best is T4 at the Farmers Insurance Open four starts ago.
For the week, the Utah native and resident tallied 18 birdies against seven bogeys and was No. 1 in SG: OTT, SG: TTG, and Driving Accuracy at 76.92 percent (40/52), but was T48 in SG: Putting (-0.584). He bumps seven places to a career-high 70th in OWGR.
Keith Mitchell: Making his PGA TOUR debut, the open-qualifier and World No. 658 finished T11 on 6-under 278 (69-70-71-68). He banked $144,900 and jumps 181 spots in OWGR to a career-high 477th.
The 25-year-old, and Web.com Tour member, has earned $108,656 in 23 pro starts on the junior circuit. He’s made 16 cuts in 24 overall events (one am start) with six top 25s and three top 10s, including a best of T5 at the Panama Claro Championship in his most recent start three weeks ago.
12 of 17 winners this season were in their 20s, including nine of last 11.
3 were in their 30s
2 were in their 40s
14 of the 17 winners emerged out of the FINAL group on Sunday/Monday, including Hadwin. The three outliers are:
Hideki Matsuyama: Penultimate threesome: erased 4-shot deficit w/ 5-under 66; won WMPO in playoff.
Jon Rahm: Fifth-to-last threesome: erased 3-shot deficit w/ 7-under 65; won Farmers by 3.
Brendan Steele: Third-to-last threesome: erased 4-shot deficit w/ 7-under 65; won Safeway by 1.
54-hole leaders/co-leaders are now 8-for-17 converting, including four of last five:
Converted: Hideki Matsuyama (WGC-HSBC), Mackenzie Hughes (The RSM Classic), Justin Thomas x2 (SBS TOC and Sony); Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pro-Am); Dustin Johnson (Genesis); Rickie Fowler (Honda); Adam Hadwin (Valspar).
Failed: Patton Kizzire (Safeway); Anirban Lahiri (CIMB); Luke List, Chris Kirk (Sanderson Farms); Lucas Glover (Shriners); Gary Woodland (OHL); Adam Hadwin (CBC); Patrick Rodgers, Brandt Snedeker (FIO); Byeong Hun An (WMPO); Justin Thomas (WGC-Mexico).
Consecutive top 10s on TOUR:
Dustin Johnson (1st-1st-3rd)
Rory McIlroy (T7-T4-P1)
Jon Rahm (T3-T5)
Tyrrell Hatton (10th-T4)
Wesley Bryan: (T7-T4-T4)
The TOUR stays in the Sunshine State and heads to Bay Hill Club & Lodge for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Jason Day is the defending champion, winning last year’s edition in wire-to-wire fashion by one over runner-up Kevin Chappell and three better than Troy Merritt and Henrik Stenson, who shared third.
Stay tuned to this space for all the latest player news and analysis as the TOUR plays its 18th tournament of the season (of 47).