At U.S. Open, Hadwin proved he belongs

Playing in his first major championship, it would have been understandable if Adam Hadwin had been overwhelmed by the massive scope of the U.S. Open.

Abbotsford golfer Adam Hadwin finished tied for 39th at the U.S. Open.

Abbotsford golfer Adam Hadwin finished tied for 39th at the U.S. Open.

Playing in his first major championship, it would have been understandable if Adam Hadwin had been overwhelmed by the massive scope of the U.S. Open.

To his credit, the 23-year-old Abbotsford golfer took it all in stride, and turned in a terrific performance at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD.

On Sunday, Hadwin shot a three-under 68 in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. The five-birdie, two-bogey round left him at three-over for the tournament, tied for 39th.

From a number of angles, Hadwin’s showing was a success. Only six golfers shot better than his 68 on Sunday, and he was the top finisher among the three Canadians in the U.S. Open field. He also finished ahead of such luminaries as current world No. 1 Luke Donald (+5), three-time major winner Padraig Harrington (+5), and four-time major champ Phil Mickelson (+7).

“Walking around the locker room, seeing Phil and (Retief) Goosen and (Sergio) Garcia and all those guys, it’s a very cool experience,” Hadwin told The News on Monday. “But I feel like I handled it the proper way. I treated it like I was working, and I got the job done.

“Those guys are No. 1 players, and they may play their best more often than I do. But if I play my best, at least I know I can compete. And that’s pretty cool.”

Hadwin authored one moment, in particular, that was worthy of the time capsule.

On Friday, he was only able to finish 17 holes before second-round play was suspended due to darkness. He went to bed knowing he knowing he needed a birdie on his final hole – the par-5 ninth – on Saturday morning to get to four over par for the tournament and make the cut.

Hadwin did just that, hitting his third shot – a wedge from 98 yards – to within six inches for a tap-in birdie.

“I’ve been in situations like that before, where I have to do something like that to make the cut or place higher or something, and I haven’t gotten the job done,” he said. “So to go out there and get it done when I needed to, I was pretty pleased with myself.”

Hadwin was third in the entire field in greens in regulation, landing the ball on the dance floor 77.8 per cent of the time. In that department, he trailed only runaway winner Rory McIlroy (86.1) and defending champion Graeme McDowell (79.2).

All in all, it’s a tremendous result for the sophomore pro, who qualified for the Open through a series of local and sectional playdowns.

“It was a lot of fun doing something I’d never had the opportunity to experience before,” he said. “The crowds are a lot of fun to play in front of, and it’s a neat experience to hear a crowd roar for you when you do something good.”

Hadwin earned $41,154 for his finish. To put that payday into perspective, a victory on the Canadian Tour, his usual circuit, is generally worth between $20,000 and $30,000.

The Robert Bateman Secondary grad leveraged his trip to the U.S. Open to raise awareness and funds for a cause that’s near and dear to his heart. He pledged $100 for each birdie he made to the C.H.I.L.D. Foundation, a charity that supports children with intestinal and liver disorders, and challenged his fans to do likewise. Hadwin’s younger brother Kyle was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when he was eight years old.

Hadwin made 14 birdies over the course of the week, and the initiative raised in the neighbourhood of $25,000.

“It’s cool to be a part of that, and to donate to a charity that my brother’s benefitted from,” Hadwin said. “I think going forward, I might do more with the C.H.I.L.D. Foundation. A lot of golfers are aligned with a charity of choice, and that could definitely be a charity of choice in the future.”

Hadwin, a two-time CanTour winner, returns to the circuit this week to play the Syncrude Boreal Open in Fort McMurray, Alta.