PALM HARBOR – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Adam Hadwin survived a near-disaster on the back nine and claimed his first PGA Tour title on Sunday, winning the Valspar Championship by one shot over Patrick Cantlay in Palm Harbor, Fla. Hadwin was leading by two strokes with three holes to play when he splashed his tee shot into the water on the 16th hole. That resulted in a double bogey that dropped the Canadian into a tie for the lead with Cantlay.
However, Hadwin parred the final two holes and avoided a playoff when Cantlay bogeyed the final hole on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook.
Hadwin closed with a par 71 for a 72-hole total of 14-under 270. He came into the final round with a four-stroke lead.
Cantlay finished at 271 after a final-round 68. He had six birdies on the day, but three bogeys proved to be his undoing, including a closing 5 on the par-4 18th hole.
On the final hole, Hadwin salvaged par after his approach shot stopped just off the green against the collar. He used a wedge to putt the ball close to the hole and then make the par putt.
Cantlay wasn’t as fortunate. His second shot landed short of the green in a bunker. He blasted out within 15 feet of the hole but missed the par putt and finished second in just his second tournament of the year.
“I don’t know what to say right now, honestly,” Hadwin said. “I fully expected Patrick to make that putt (on No. 18). I said yesterday I wanted a chance to win coming up the last. I had that chance, and I thought we were going to have to make birdies to win it. I’m just lucky that 1-footer was not 1 1/2 feet, that’s all I know.”
The win earns Hadwin a berth in the Masters next month.