Golf Kingdom PGA Sports Valspar Championship

Hadwin clinches first PGA Tour victory, honeymoon on hold

Adam Hadwin of Canada holds the trophy with fiancee Jessica Dawn after winning the Valspar Championship during the final round at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course on Sunday in Palm Harbor, Florida. — AFP
Adam Hadwin of Canada holds the trophy with fiancee Jessica Dawn after winning the Valspar Championship during the final round at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course on Sunday in Palm Harbor, Florida. — AFP

FLORIDA — Canadian Adam Hadwin overcame a late double-bogey to clinch his first victory on the PGA Tour, a one-stroke win over American Patrick Cantlay at the Valspar Championship in Florida on Sunday.

Hadwin made a one-foot tap-in par for the victory after Cantlay bogeyed the par-four 18th, failing to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker.

The Canadian carded a closing 71 to finish at 14-under-par 270 on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, with Cantlay (68) second on 13-under.

Hadwin is the 14th Canadian to win on the PGA Tour. His victory earns him an invitation to next month’s Masters, which means he will need to postpone his honeymoon planned for that week.

Hadwin had fallen back into a tie with Cantlay at the par-four 16th, carving his drive into a water hazard and dropping two shots. “I certainly didn’t knock myself out of the tournament but made it a lot closer than I was liking it to be,” the 29-year-old from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan told Golf Channel after giving his fiancee Jessica a huge hug.

“That (bad shot) came out of nowhere. I had striped it all day and all week. I knew I needed to keep hitting some good shots. Proud of myself for the way I hung in there. Lucky I had a tap-in on 18. I don’t know if I’d have made it if it had been much further.”

Cantlay, a former top ranked amateur, was downbeat after making a mess of the last, where a poor approach shot followed by a mediocre bunker shot left him with a 15-footer for par, which he missed.

Playing on a medical extension on the PGA Tour after battling a stress fracture in his back, the prize money he earned for second place was enough to gain his card as a full playing member.

“I guess it’s the one positive from this week but I was just trying to go out and win the golf tournament,” said Cantlay. “Overall I played really good golf.”

Cantlay, 24, had experienced a tragedy last February when his caddie Chris Roth was struck and killed by a car as the pair were crossing a road in California.

Jordan-Higgins wins Symetra Tour opener

In Winter Haven, Fla., Olivia Jordan-Higgins won the season-opening Florida’s Natural Charity Classic by a stroke Sunday for her third Symetra Tour title.

Jordan-Higgins closed with a 2-under 70 to hold off Christine Song (66) and China’s Yu Liu (67). The winner finished at 10-under 207 at the Country Club of Winter Haven and earned $$18,750.

“I don’t think I can really put into words how it feels yet,” Jordan-Higgins said. “This has been 18 months’ work all put together. I couldn’t ask for a better start right now.”

Jordan-Higgins is from Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands between England and France, and played at Charleston Southern. She also won tour events in 2013 and 2014.

Jordan-Higgins took a two-stroke lead into the final day after opening with rounds of 66 and 70. She birdied the par-3 second and made a double bogey on the par-4 seventh, then – after a nearly two-hour rain delay – rallied with birdies on the par-5 11th and par-4 14th and 16th.

“The key today was patience,” Jordan-Higgins said. “I was a little tense on the front and trying too hard to make things happen that just weren’t happening and I did make some a mistake on seven. It just came down to patience and knowing that I had a lot of birdie changes left after my double on seven.”

The top 10 on the final money list will earn 2018 LPGA Tour cards. “I want it more than anything,” Jordan-Higgins said. “This is what I’ve wanted since I started playing golf. The key for me is to let it happen. I have all of the tools I need and all of the support I need, so it’s just a matter of accepting whatever happens.”

Chawrasia successfully defends Indian Open title

In New Delhi, S.S.P. Chawrasia successfully defended his Indian Open title on Sunday, finishing with a 10-under-par 278 for a comfortable seven-stroke victory.

Chawrasia held a two-shot lead when he completed his weather-delayed third round on Sunday morning and continued his fine form before signing off with 71 in the last round.

“I’m winning back-to-back so I’m really very happy,” said Chawrasia, who also became the first Indian golfer to defend a European title. “This is a very tough course so I’m just trying to play straight and to the right place. I played very consistently this week.”

Malaysia’s Gavin Green finished second but never came close to challenging Chawrasia’s dominance, making two birdies and five bogeys in his last round of 75. He ended up 3-under, which sealed his first European Tour top-ten finish.

Scotsman Scott Jamieson played a par round of 72 to finish eight shots behind Chawrasia alongside Italy’s Matteo Manassero, who carded 73 in his last round.