TORONTO - A standout season for Adam Hadwin will be suitably rewarded.
The 23-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., drew national attention in July with his charge at the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, where he eventually tied for fourth.
He also qualified for and made the cut at the U.S. Open, where he tied for 39th.
Those two finishes not only made Hadwin the pleasant surprise of the 2011 tour season for Canadians, but also had him in the race for the top 125 on the tour money list who earn playing privileges next year.
A tie for seventh at the Frys.com Open earlier this month, where he earned $130,312.50, drew him even closer, but he eventually finished outside the top 125.
Hadwin’s $440,753 in earnings from five events was enough, however, to place him 145th if he was a tour member, so his agent, George Sourlis of Landmark Sport Group, successfully lobbied on his behalf for an exemption into the final stage of Q-school.
Hadwin had expected to take part in the second stage next month, where he would have needed to qualify for the final stage.
The direct step to final stage Nov. 30-Dec. 5 in La Quinta, Calif., takes a big grind out of the process of earning his tour card.
The top 25 from the final stage will earn full-time status on the PGA Tour, but failing that, Hadwin will at least end up on the Nationwide Tour next season after spending most of this season on the Canadian Tour.
In other Q-school news, Oshawa’s Derek Gillespie continued a remarkable comeback recently, when he tied for 15th in the first round in North Carolina. The top 22 and ties at that venue advance to the second stage.
Gillespie suffered a broken right femur, five broken ribs and a collapsed lung in a vehicle rollover in the Phoenix area in April, but returned to play a couple of events at the end of the Canadian Tour season before Q-School.
Cam Burke of New Hamburg, Ont., tied for third in the same Q-School field as Gillespie.
In Beaumont, Calif., Montreal’s Izzy Beisiegel, who insists on being beaten by the boys instead of focusing on women’s golf, tied for 75th. She was 24-over.
Beisiegel caused an Izzy tizzy earlier this year when she earned non-exempt status on the Canadian Tour, where she played four events and didn’t make a cut.
Lindsay Wilson, an Aussie living in Montreal, topped the Beaumont field at 13-under after rounds of 68-64-74-69.
This won’t happen, but it’s possible and it would be justice. Keegan Bradley wins PGA Tour player of the year, even though he wasn’t picked for the Presidents Cup team. That award will most likely go to England’s Luke Donald, or American Webb Simpson, with an outside shot for Keegan. Donald was named player of the month for October and won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. There will need to be some explaining if Donald doesn’t win. If that happens, expect an outcry about bias favouring American players ... Aussie Jason Day, the runner-up at this year’s Masters, says it’s hard not to pick Tiger Woods to the American Presidents Cup team because of what he’s done in the past. It’s also tough to ignore the present in which there were 14 first-time winners on tour in 2011 and 29 first-timers over the past two years, with seven consecutive first-time major winners as Woods struggled to regain his form. How long can you live in the past?
Phil Mickelson has quietly dropped out of the top 10 on the world rankings and was 11th last week. Mickelson has won just twice in the last two years, including the 2010 Masters and this year’s Shell Houston Open, but he did have seven top-10s in 2011, including a couple of runner-ups. As has been the case all of his career, Lefty’s exit from the top 10 hasn’t been nearly as well-documented as Woods’ fall from the top of the world pecking order to 55th last week. This is one time Mickelson can be happy about being overshadowed by Tiger ... With all of the talk about the power game being so important these days, it’s interesting to note that Donald, still world No. 1, tied for 147th in PGA Tour driving distance with a 284.1-yard average. That left him behind Canadians David Hearn and Matt McQuillan in that category. By the way, J.B. Holmes led the driving distance category with a 318.4-yard average ... Driving distance, or lack of it, is what many Mike Weir doubters say he’s lacking in his comeback attempt, but Donald’s success this year douses that theory ... Hadwin turns 24 on Wednesday ... Lexi Thompson, who successfully petitioned to become an LPGA Tour member at the age of 16, will reportedly make her debut at the new Handa Women’s Australian Open in February, She’ll turn 17 while there ... Writing about splits between Woods and caddie Steve Williams, or Rory McIlroy and his agent Chubby Chandler suddenly has me feeling like a cheesy entertainment reporter. Just saying.