By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – Adam Hadwin had an inkling his red-hot start to the year would lead to his first Masters invite, which is why the recently-married Canadian purchased refundable airline tickets for the honeymoon.
Hadwin, who shot only the ninth sub-60 round in PGA Tour history earlier this year, won the his first PGA Tour tournament a little over two weeks ago to earn his Masters invite and got married last Friday.
“I’m still figuring out what’s going on, still a little bit lost,” Hadwin told a conference call on Thursday. “Certainly all very good things happening. Lots of great things in life right now but certainly it’s been quite a whirlwind this last month.
Hadwin was ranked 200th in the world after the first event of the season and planned on missing only an alternate-field event for his wedding, figuring he’d have no shot at the WGC-Dell Match Play, which takes the world’s top 64 players.
But Hadwin’s maiden PGA Tour victory vaulted him to 51st in the world rankings and has given him plenty of confidence for his first trip to Augusta National for the April 6-9 Masters.
The 29-year-old Canadian, who said his first recollection of the Masters was Tiger Woods’s 12-stroke victory in 1997, is not worried about losing his focus as he competes on one of the most renowned golf courses for the first time.
“Obviously there are guys who have been there many, many years and know what to expect and know how things are done there, but I’ve gone to lots of golf courses that I haven’t played before and I have played well,” said Hadwin.
“I am playing really well this year. I’ve had some success against some great fields and so it’s just a matter of preparing the best I can and seeing where my game stacks up that week against the best players.”
Hadwin has received plenty of advice from players who have competed at Augusta National before and was mostly told to treat it like any other tournament and fit his game to the course.
He has already been in touch with 2003 Masters champion and compatriot Mike Weir, who will play a practice round at Augusta National with him on Tuesday.
“I haven’t started picking Mike’s brain yet. I want to save it a little bit. I don’t want to wear him out before we actually play,” said Hadwin. “I’m sure that I will pick up a bunch of stuff come Tuesday.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Lovell)