Adam Hadwin captured his first US PGA title despite squandering a four-stroke lead, parring Sunday’s final hole to win the Valspar Championship by one shot over American Patrick Cantlay.
A double bogey by Hadwin after finding water off the tee at the par-4 16th left the last-pair duo deadlocked, but Cantlay found a bunker at 18 and missed a 15-foot par putt, allowing Hadwin’s tap-in par to give him the victory.
“I don’t know what to say right now honestly. I fully expected Patrick to make that putt,” Hadwin said. “I just wanted a chance to win on 18 and that’s what I had. I thought it would take a birdie to win it.
“I’m just lucky that one footer wasn’t 1 1/2 feet.”
Hadwin fired a level par 71 to finish 72 holes on 14-under 270 while Cantlay’s final-round closing 68 left him on 271 with Americans Jim Herman and Dominic Bozzelli sharing third on 272 and Tony Finau on 273.
The victory at the Copperhead course in Palm Harbour, Florida, booked the 29-year-old from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, a berth at the Masters next month on the week he had scheduled a honeymoon.
“Proud of myself the way I hung in there,” Hadwin said. “This course was going to be a grind the whole way through.”
Despite the defeat, Cantlay’s runner-up finish in only his second event in 28 months was worth $680 000 – enough for him to earn his tour card after playing this week on a major medical exemption.
“It’s the one positive from this week but I’m not thinking about it in those terms,” Cantlay said. “I was trying to win the golf tournament.”
Cantlay, who birdied five of six holes in one stretch but just missed his first PGA crown, had been the world’s top-ranked amateur in 2012 but in 2013 suffered a stress fracture in a lower back vertebrae while warming up on a driving range. He has battled back and returned with a share of 48th at Pebble Beach last month.
“Overall I played really good golf,” said Cantlay. “I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing more tournaments. I’m excited to go out and play again. Nice to put myself in a spot where I’m in contention and I want to do that again.”