Hadwin scratches to earn PGA tour card

Canada's highest ranked player Adam Hadwin tees off on the first hole in the afternoon to begin his...

Canada's highest ranked player Adam Hadwin tees off on the first hole in the afternoon to begin his second round of the Seaforth Country Classic Friday August 19, 2011. (MIKE HENSEN/QMI Agency)

IAN HUTCHINSON, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:10 PM ET

It’s a moving target, but Adam Hadwin will need to make about $250,000 over the next couple of weeks to earn his PGA Tour card through the money list and, as it stands right now, he is only assured of teeing it up in this week’s McGladrey Classic.

The 23-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., who captured this nation’s attention with a tie for fourth at the RBC Canadian Open in July, accepts that the wild ride his career has taken this season may not necessarily conclude with the ultimate graduation to the tour.

He’s nicely balancing the expectations and dreams of a young man with the reality that his outstanding part-time results, including a tie for seventh at last week’s Frys.com Open, may only be about experience and confidence as he prepares for Q-school.

“I’ve got one-way flights booked everywhere right now,” said Hadwin as he prepared for the McGladrey. “As far as I’m concerned, the plan that I’ve laid out is that the second stage is on (Nov. 15) down in Texas.”

However, another top-10 finish could get him into next week’s Disney event and if he should happen to do well there, Hadwin could put himself into a position in which he can bypass Q-school and head to the beach for a while.

It’s a nice thought, but he isn’t dwelling on it.

“I’m just going to take advantage of every opportunity out here like I have before and just go from there,” he said.

“We’ll go out and do our best and if we win, we win. If we top-10, we top-10. If we finish 58th, we finish 58th. I’m trying the best I can and just whatever happens, happens,” added Hadwin.

“It never crosses my mind on the tee box that, `OK, I have to par this.’ I’m there to win the event. I’m more concerned with being three or four back of the leader than `OK, if I just stay here (on the leaderboard), I get the top-10,’” said Hadwin.

To go along with his enviable game, Hadwin has a unique talent of rising to the occasion when he has no right to do so, at least according to conventional thinking.

That knack dates back to Hadwin earning low Canadian honours at the 2010 Canadian Open at Toronto’s St. George’s Golf and Country Club.

Even after making the cut at this year’s U.S. Open, Hadwin was an unlikely candidate to become the first Canadian since Pat Fletcher in 1954 to win the Canadian Open in Vancouver this year, but it nearly happened.

“To be able to compete and stay in it and all that just kind of adds confidence. I wasn’t able to win, but I learned a lot and I took that into last week at the Frys,” he said.

“Things keep getting better and better and I keep playing better and better against better fields and better players and we’ll see what happens next,” said Hadwin, adding that exposure he got from each stellar performance led to more sponsor’s exemptions.

“I’m sure that the Canadian Open had mostly to do with why I got the sponsor’s exemptions into the Frys,” said Hadwin of his momentum.

“Every time that you move up a level, you can put a notch on your belt and say, `OK, I’ve done this before.’ It’s very hard to come play on the PGA Tour and win without winning on another level,” he said.

“My first year (2010), I was able to have some top-10 finishes on the Canadian Tour, but couldn’t get a win until the end of the season and then, the second Canadian Tour event of this year, I won. It just makes it easier once you’ve been in that position,” he added.

For that reason, he says the Canadian Tour provided him with some valuable experience that he wouldn’t have found elsewhere.

“I’ve been able to play against some great talent and learned. I think it’s very difficult to jump straight on to the (PGA Tour). It takes a very special talent to do that and obviously, I wasn’t ready for that,” he said.

He seems to be getting closer and closer to the objective, whether he does the unthinkable by making it through the money list, or by graduating through Q-school.

“I didn’t really put any expectations on it. I didn’t really put a timeline on it either. I just kind of said to myself, `Let’s do this properly.’” said Hadwin.


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