Sports

PGA Tour card a major milestone for Hadwin

Adam Hadwin has clinched his PGA Tour card for next season with a fanastic showing on the Web.com Tour. - Neil Corbett / Abbotsford News file photo
Adam Hadwin has clinched his PGA Tour card for next season with a fanastic showing on the Web.com Tour.
— image credit: Neil Corbett / Abbotsford News file photo

Adam Hadwin will mark a momentous milestone in his golf career on Sunday, but he's not even in the vicinity of celebration mode at this point.

At the conclusion of this week's WinCo Foods Portland Open – the final tournament of the Web.com Tour regular season – the 26-year-old Abbotsford golfer and 24 others will be feted at a ceremony where they receive their PGA Tour cards for the 2014-15 season.

It's Hadwin's just reward for a fantastic campaign on North America's second-tier pro golf tour, which saw him notch five top-10 finishes highlighted by a victory at the Chile Classic in early March.

Add it all up, and he's earned $223,267, which leaves him 10th on the Web.com Tour money list. The aforementioned top 25 at the end of the regular season earn their PGA Tour cards, and heading into the finale in North Plains, Ore., Hadwin's spot in that select group is assured.

But while playing full-time on the PGA Tour is something Hadwin has dreamed of since he was a youngster, there's still plenty still on the line for him. The upcoming Web.com Tour playoffs – four events with million-dollar prize purses which award another 25 PGA Tour cards – will also decide priority access for the 25 regular-season card recipients. The better he fares, the more PGA events he'll have access to, beginning with the Frys.com Open in early October.

"In my mind, there's still a lot of stuff left to accomplish," Hadwin said. "Just having the tour card doesn't seem to be enough these days. There's lots of guys with (PGA) tour cards that didn't play that well this year and lost it, and are coming back to the (Web.com Tour) playoffs.

"It's great, and it's a very exciting time. But I always want more, and I think that's where my head is at still."

Hadwin has navigated peaks and valleys on his journey to the PGA Tour.

The Bateman Secondary and University of Louisville grad burst onto the scene in July 2011 with a fourth-place finish at the RBC Canadian Open, challenging for the title in the final round at Vancouver's Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.

The following season on the Web.com Tour, he finished within a whisker of earning his PGA Tour card. Needing to finish tied for second or better at the Tour Championship to move into the top 25 on the money list, he found himself in that precise position at the end of his final round. But James Hahn was still on the course, and he birdied the 18th hole to claim solo second place, knocking Hadwin from a projected 25th to 30th on the money list.

The 2013 season was a nightmare for Hadwin – he missed the cut at 10 of 21 events, and finished 74th overall to barely retain his Web.com Tour card.

But it was the impetus for improvement that he needed. He's been far more consistent in 2014, missing just four cuts in 16 tourneys, and he credits that success to a more focused, professional mindset.

Reflecting on his near-miss in 2012, Hadwin says "it just wasn't my time."

"Maybe I just wasn't ready to make the jump," he said. "(The struggles in 2013) led to me figuring some things out and having the year that I've had thus far.

"Obviously this year I've played pretty well and proven to not only myself, but to everyone else that I'm ready to take the next step."

TAYLOR ON THE BUBBLE

While Hadwin's spot in the top tier of the money list is a foregone conclusion, fellow Abby golfer Nick Taylor's situation this week is fraught with drama.

Taylor is squarely on the bubble, sitting 74th overall with earnings of $64,813. The top 75 advance to the Web.com Tour playoffs, and lock up their Web.com cards for next season (spots 76-100 get conditional status).

Hadwin, who lived with Taylor in Phoenix during the off-season, noted that his buddy's challenge this week is trying not to let his precarious money-list position become a distraction.

"It seems like making the cut may not do it – he's got to make the cut and play well," said Hadwin. "It's very difficult to just go out and relax and have fun, and hit the ball around the golf course when you're in that position. That's obviously what he usually does when he's playing his best golf.

"But he's a bright kid, and a good player. I'm sure he'll figure out a way to play some good golf when he needs it."

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