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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, June 14, 2024

Teeing off: O Canada!

In a day that was supposed to be calm and clear for the native son of our neighbor to the north, Adam Hadwin sure made himself earn his first career PGA Tour win. But, he did earn it (as well as the praise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau).

Hadwin entered the final round of the Valspar Championship, hosted at Innisbrook Resort in beautiful Palm Harbor, Fla., with a four-shot lead. The Canadian took that four-shot lead to the through the first eight holes, but from there things became interesting.

Patrick Cantlay began a chase of the leader with birdies at 10, 11, 13 and 14, closing the lead to one stroke.And after Hadwin double bogeyed the 16th (Cantlay bogeyed the 15th to give one back), the two were tied for the lead at 14-under par.

But, on the final hole of the tournament, Cantlay hit his approach into the green-side bunker and failed to get up and down. The dropped shot here cost him a shot at a playoff for the championship, as Hadwin easily brushed in a two-footer for par to win the Valspar.

Hadwin is a first time winner on the tour this season, a new trend for a year that had been thoroughly dominated by superstars. This week continued another trend that this writer can’t state enough: the exceptional play of Wesley Bryan. The former Gamecock finished tied for seventh with Henrik Stenson, earning another $200,000+ in winnings and securing his card for next season.

This finish will likely move Bryan (previously 78th) inside the top 75 in the world golf rankings, but the question for Bryan is how far inside the top 75 can he get. Next week's event is the Arnold Palmer Invitational; it will be followed by a World Golf Championship-Dell Match Play Championship, which extends invitations to the top 64 golfers in the world rankings. These two high-profile events could move Bryan inside the top 50 in the world (with good finishes), thus securing him an invitation to The Masters in 23 days.

Hadwin joins great company with his victory at Innisbrook. Most notably, he joins Jordan Spieth, who won the event in 2015 just weeks before he began his incredible major run with his victory at The Masters. Hadwin will also receive an invitation to Augusta because of his victory as well as a cool $1.1 million in winnings.Oh and also, Hadwin is getting married in a couple weeks... guess it’s time to upgrade the honeymoon plans?

Also this week, the European Tour traveled to India for the Hero Indian Open. SSP Chawrasia, from India, took home the title in New Delhi. The European Tour continued its swing through the Middle East and Australasia as the tour seeks warmer, friendlier climates.Next up for the Euros is the WGC-Match Play in Texas in 2 weeks and then The Masters in four weeks.The European Tour finally comes home to Europe, after more stops in Africa and China, in May, when it returns to the Centurion Club in St. Albans, England.