Of the testy closing stretch at the Copperhead Course—the Snake Pit—many feel the most dangerous hole is the watery, 475-yard 16th. Hadwin almost drowned his chances for good at the hole when he lost his tee shot into the water and made double-bogey. When Cantlay made par, they were tied for the first time all day, but Cantlay seemed to have all the momentum.
“I told him, ‘Forget about it,’” said Hadwin’s caddie Joe Cruz. “‘All you wanted was a chance and you still have that chance.’ He said, ‘You’re right. I can’t be mad.’ I think this proves we belong out here. I know he’s believed it ever since Palm Springs, and it’s cool to pull one out.”
Hadwin went from 15th to fourth in the FedExCup standings, qualified for his first Masters, and became just the second player to win on the PGA TOUR, the Mackenzie Tour—PGA TOUR Canada, and the Web.com Tour. Although he came into the week 98th in the Official World Golf Ranking, the victory moved him up to 51st, making him eligible for the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. (He’ll be getting married and will miss it.)
He almost lost it all with the splash of his errant 3-wood tee shot on 16.
“I was still in the golf tournament,” Hadwin said. “I was tied for the lead with two holes to go.”
Both players made par on 17, and on the walk to the 18th tee Hadwin told caddie Cruz that they were still in better shape than they’d been in at the CareerBuilder Challenge. That was where Hadwin shot a third-round 59 but lost to Hudson Swafford by a shot.
This time there were no such regrets. Cantlay smoked a 3-wood down the 18th fairway, and Hadwin did the same. Then Cantlay made one of his only mistakes, losing his approach shot into the right greenside bunker. Hadwin kept his own approach just left of the pin, his ball rolling up against the back fringe, and with Cantlay unable to get up and down, and Hadwin cozying his bellied-wedge third shot to within a foot, it was over.
“I just went out there today and stuck to what I do best, and just hit some quality golf shots, and really made the game super easy outside of hole No. 16,” Hadwin said. “I feel a little fortunate after that hole to be sitting here with you, but I’ll certainly take it and I can’t wait for everything that comes with this win.”