Hadwin a proud Canuck

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:44 PM ET

VANCOUVER - It might not have the same name recognition as the Stanley Cup, the Grey Cup or the Ryder Cup.

Just don't underestimate the importance of the Rivermead Cup to Canada's top homegrown golfers.

Adam Hadwin is the current owner of the shiny silverware, which is awarded annually to the low-scoring Canuck at the RBC Canadian Open, and the 23-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., learned last year that the distinction is a big deal.

"It'd be really cool to hold both (the Rivermead and Canadian Open) trophies side-by-side, but it's a very cool honour in your own country to be treated as a winner, basically," Hadwin said prior to Tuesday's practice round at Shaughnessy, where he'll try to keep his Rivermead Cup crown at the latest instalment of our open golf championship.

"I mean, I came 37th, and I was treated like I had won the event. It's just a cool feeling to be recognized as Canada's top golfer in the Canadian Open for that year."

Hadwin carded a four-round total of 5-under 275 at the 2010 RBC Canadian Open at St. George's Golf & Country Club in Toronto, finishing nine strokes off the pace set by eventual winner Carl Pettersson but one shot better than Oshawa's Jon Mills as the leading Canadian.

"I believe I said something in my Friday press conference about looking at the leaderboard and seeing (Stephen) Ames at 5-under and knowing my par putt was to stay ahead of him," Hadwin recalled. "And I let out a fist-pump. It's Friday , and I'm letting out fist-pumps already."

Seventeen Canadians will be on Thursday's opening-round tee-sheet at Shaughnessy, including PGA Tour regulars Ames, Chris Baryla, David Hearn, Matt McQuillan and Mike Weir.

The field also includes the should-be future faces of golf in the Great White North, guys like Hadwin, Matt Hill, Nick Taylor and Eugene Wong.

It's now been 56 years since one of the 'locals' won the Canadian Open, a slump that dates back to Pat Fletcher's triumph in 1954. Weir, who participated in a private event Tuesday at Capilano Golf & Country Club and won't chat with reporters until Wednesday afternoon, has been close a few times but has struggled big-time this season, putting even more pressure on the next wave of promising players.

"I think the state of Canada's future is very bright. I think there's a lot of good talent coming up," Hadwin said. "But I don't really think about that. If I am the guy, then that's awesome. But I've just got to take care of my business, and that's how it going to unfold.

"Canada is hungry for another player. We were riding Mike Weir for so long, and he was our guy. He's struggling a little bit now, but I'm sure he'll get it back and find a way to get it done. But I think that there are some young guys that are going to step up here pretty soon and take over and be that guy for Canada again."

Twitter.com/WesGilbertson


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