Oct. 28, 2012
Courtesy of The Vancouver Sun
VANCOUVER - It's not a must-win, but it's darn close to that for Adam Hadwin at this week's season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.
The arithmetic is fairly simple for Hadwin, the 24-year-old Abbotsford pro who sits 48th on the money list and must jump into the top 25 to secure his PGA Tour card for 2013.
"I crunched some numbers last night," Hadwin said over the phone Tuesday from Dallas, site of this week's Tour Championship. "I've got to win or finish second with two people at most to have a chance. Even if there's three of us tied at second I still may not have a chance. It's a pretty simple concept at the final tournament of the year. I've pretty much got to win it or I don't get my (PGA) Tour card."
This week's tournament at TPC Craig Ranch features a $1-million purse, the largest of the season. And with just the top 60 players on the money list competing, there is no cut.
Anyone in the field who wins the $180,00 first prize will jump into the top 25, so every player figures to have his foot on the gas pedal.
Hadwin hopes to temper his aggression, at least in Thursday's opening round.
"You can't win it on the first day, but you can definitely lose it," he said. "It will all kind of depend on how the first couple of days go. I think initially it will be kind of the same mindset as every other event, just put yourself in good position off the tee, hit some quality shots into the greens and give yourself some looks at it and make those first couple of days as stress-free as possible.
"You just want to get yourself in position on the weekend to make a move. Once that happens that's when you really have to go for it."
Hadwin also has another carrot dangling before him should he not finish in the top 25. Players finishing 26th through 40th on the money list earn a pass through to the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying school. If Hadwin fails to climb into the top 40, he must attend the second stage of Q school early next month.
Hadwin insists he is not feeling much pressure. With a top-60 finish locked up, he knows at worst he will be fully exempt next year on the Web.com Tour. It's not like he is playing for a place to play next year.
"At this point you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain," he said. "The worst that is going to happen from this event is that you are going to have full status out here again next year and you go to second stage and try to improve it.
"I can't improve on my status unless I get PGA Tour status. There really is no pressure now. You just have to go out and free it up, have some fun and hopefully everything goes right for you and at the end of it you can say you did something special and you are part of the PGA Tour now."
Hadwin has had an up-and-down kind of rookie year on the Web.com Tour. He's missed 12 of 24 cuts, but has played well in spurts. More than half of his $110,713 in earnings was made with a pair of top-five finishes - a tie for fifth in April at the Soboda Golf Classic in California and a tie for third at the Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb., in early August.
He feels like his game is close. He made a ton of birdies at last week's event in Florida and would have been in the hunt there if not for a pair of triple-bogeys on the same hole. He also proved at last year's RBC Canadian Open at Shaugnessy, where he tied for fourth, that he performs well on a big stage. And this is the big event of the year on the Web.com Tour.
"I hit it so well last week," he said. "It's just that I had mental cramps on a couple of holes and had some untimely bad shots. I have been rolling it with the putter for three or four weeks now. It feels like it's so close to really breaking through and making a run for a title. I have left it to the last week now, but better late than never."