It was a special Sunday for Abbotsford golfers Nick Taylor (left) and Adam Hadwin. Taylor earned his PGA Tour card with the low round of the day at the Tour Championship

It was a special Sunday for Abbotsford golfers Nick Taylor (left) and Adam Hadwin. Taylor earned his PGA Tour card with the low round of the day at the Tour Championship

Huge day for Abbotsford golf: Taylor to join Hadwin on PGA Tour

Nick Taylor secured his PGA Tour card at the Tour Championship, while Adam Hadwin moved up to top spot on the money list.

Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor grew up in the Ledgeview junior golf program together, and now they’re going to the PGA Tour together.

The two Abbotsford golfers, both 26 years of age, had plenty to celebrate on Sunday at the Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. – the final event of the season on North America’s second-tier men’s pro golf circuit.

Hadwin had already assured himself a PGA Tour card for 2014-15 by virtue of his fourth-place finish on the Tour regular-season money list. But he didn’t stop there – he capped a torrid run through the tour’s four-event playoff series by tying for seventh place at the Championship, which earned him $30,125 and vaulted him into first place on the overall money list (regular season and playoffs combined) with total earnings of $529,792.

That first-place distinction is a mighty valuable one – it grants Hadwin fully exempt status for the upcoming PGA Tour season, along with an invitation to the prestigious Players Championship, which is often referred to as golf’s unofficial “fifth major.”

“Going into these playoffs, I didn’t think what I just achieved was possible,” Hadwin told the Tour website, alluding to the fact that he was more than $220,000 behind erstwhile money-list leader Carlos Ortiz heading into the post-season. “I had a missed cut and three top-10s in these playoffs. It caps an amazing year, an amazing run that I’ve been on these last five weeks.

“The feeling is indescribable. I’m over the moon, as they say.”

Taylor, meanwhile, authored the round of his life on Sunday to secure his own PGA Tour card.

Needing to finish in the top 25 on the playoffs-only money list (excluding golfers like Hadwin who had already earned PGA Tour cards during the regular season), Taylor was projected to finish 24th after a disastrous third round left him tied for 62nd (out of 65 golfers who made the cut). If a lower-ranked golfer lit it up in the final round, he was in grave danger of slipping out of the top 25.

But Taylor came out firing on Sunday in the face of incredible pressure, fashioning a phenomenal seven-under 63 that was the best round of the day by two strokes. He shot up the leaderboard to finish tied for 21st, earning $10,800, which left him 18th on the playoffs-only money list (earnings of $44,335) and thus locked up his PGA Tour card.

Taylor is 37th on the priority access list for PGA Tour events, which combines the 25 golfers who earned their cards during the regular season with the 25 card recipients from the playoffs.

“Last night, I looked at the board and I knew there were a lot of guys in the range where if they had a good round, they could pass me,” Taylor told the Tour website. “I knew if I had a very average day or a bad day today, it would have been a very uncomfortable afternoon watching and seeing where I would have ended up.

“I wanted to do my best to not have to do that. I wasn’t expecting to shoot 63, obviously, but when I finished, I knew that I was going to be projected to be inside. I didn’t know what my number was going to be, but I could have an easy afternoon, which was nice.”

Indeed, it was a fantastic day for Abbotsford golf, and for a pair of athletes who came up through the local ranks together.

Taylor, a Yale Secondary product, had the starrier amateur career, rising to No. 1 in the world amateur rankings in 2009 and winning the Ben Hogan award at the NCAA’s top male golfer in 2010 for his exploits with the University of Washington Huskies.

But Hadwin found success quicker as a pro – the Robert Bateman Secondary and University of Louisville grad burst onto the scene with a fourth-place finish at the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open in 2011, and came within a whisker of earning his PGA Tour card as a Tour member in 2012.

Both had their bouts with adversity – Taylor toiled three seasons on the third-tier PGA Tour Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Tour) before earning the right to move up to the Tour this season. Hadwin’s 2013 campaign was a nightmare (10 missed cuts in 21 events) which saw him finish 74th on the money list to barely retain his Tour status.

But here they are, about to embark on their PGA Tour adventure. Together.

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