Adam Hadwin shoots 3-under 69, no longer a rookie at Augusta National

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Adam Hadwin shoots 3-under 69, no longer a rookie at Augusta National

PGA Tour

Adam Hadwin shoots 3-under 69, no longer a rookie at Augusta National

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Adam Hadwin didn’t have a whole lot of time to prepare for his Masters debut in 2017. He won the Valspar Championship four weeks before the tournament and had to put his honeymoon on hold so he could play at Augusta National.

The 30-year-old University of Louisville graduate hasn’t won since, but he played really steady golf all year and was safely in the Masters field as a 2016-17 Tour Championship qualifier and the No. 43-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Now he’s a little more familiar around the grounds at Augusta and sits T-4 after a 3-under 69 in Round 1, three shots behind leader Jordan Spieth.

“I think it just suits my eye,” Hadwin said. “I love working the ball both ways. It’s something that I work on and practice on the range a lot and so it really doesn’t matter the hole, I feel like I can hit the shot that’s required. And then some of those recovery shots as well. Growing up in (British Columbia), tree-lined courses, I’m used to kind of hitting the punch hooks and cuts when you need to. So I don’t know what it is, but obviously a very special golf course and I feel at home here.”

This marked Hadwin’s fifth and lowest round at Augusta. He finished T-36 last year but never shot in the 60s, finishing strong with a 2-under 70 in the final round.

He had a clean card going through 13 holes Thursday until his first bogey of the day at the par-4 14th.

Hadwin started with eight straight pars and birdied three of the next four holes. He played Amen Corner 1 under, rolling in a 12-footer for birdie at the par-3 12th. Hadwin also birdied the par-3 16th, this time from 22 feet, to get to 4 under on the afternoon. He three-putted on 18 to finish with bogey, ending a day filled with far more positives than negatives.

“It was a great round,” Hadwin said. “Off the tee, I mean, I wasn’t perfect off the tee, but I was always in a position to get to the green, which I think is key out here. And I put myself in a lot of good spots on the greens. Speed control was really good throughout the day. The gun kind of went off in the hand there on 18, but other than that it was just a really good solid day. Made a few good putts when I needed to and here I am under par.”

Hadwin is one of seven players tied at 3 under, a group which includes Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy and Rafa Cabrera Bello. He hasn’t missed a cut in 11 starts this season and will likely be around for the weekend at Augusta.

Based on his last two rounds here, Hadwin is picking up on everything quicker than most newcomers. Maybe quickly enough to find himself in the mix come Sunday.

“I hit some really good iron shots today,” Hadwin said. “I was in really good control of the distance as well, which is quite key out there. So I felt really comfortable out there. All the shots that I was seeing I was pulling off.”

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