Wins his first PGA Tour ti­tle, earns Masters spot and get­ting mar­ried

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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, kept his wits and then closed with two strong pars for an even-par 71 to win the Valspar Cham­pi­onship by one shot over Pa­trick Cant­lay for his first PGA Tour ti­tle on Sun­day.

“You’re never quite sure when you’re go­ing to get the job done,” Had­win said. “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.”

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 Cana­dian 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, all he wanted was a chance over the fi­nal few holes.

The trick Sun­day 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-5 11th and then a 55-footer on the par-3 13th to keep a twoshot lead.

But it all changed on the 16th, the start of a tough three-hole fin­ish at the Cop­per­head Course. His 3-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 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 2 feet be­low the cup.

Cant­lay’s bunker shot was well short, and he missed the 15-foot par putt to force a play­off.

He was 1 of 6 in sand saves for the week.

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 said. “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.

Had­win’s fi­ancee, Jes­sica Kip­pen­berger, made the wed­ding date for March 24 be­cause that’s when the venue was avail­able. Had­win checked the sched­ule and fig­ured it worked out beau­ti­fully.

“I looked at it as, ‘Hey, we picked the week of Puerto Rico,’ not we picked it the week of the WGC,” he said with a laugh.

The hon­ey­moon de­posit was only for the ho­tel. He booked re­fund­able air­line tick­ets with the Masters in mind.


Adam Had­win with the Valspar Cham­pi­onship tro­phy in Palm Har­bor on Sun­day.

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