Hadwin hoping to build on Canadian Tour successFebruary 15, 2012
John Dell, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
For Canadian Adam Hadwin the Nationwide Tour season opener can't get here fast enough.
While he did what he could to stay sharp in Canada during the off-season by hitting balls at an indoor facility it wasn't until he arrived at his new home base in Phoenix when he could really start preparing. He hopes the preparation will pay off this week at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship at the Country Club de Bogota in Colombia.
"I did take about a month off and didn't touch a club," said Hadwin, 24, and a former star on the Canadian Tour who hopes to make an impact in his first full season on the Nationwide Tour. "I think that was good because it kind of allowed me to be fresh and work on my conditioning."
The 23rd Nationwide Tour season will kick off this week and Hadwin is one of several of the young players who could make a move this season.
Hadwin, a 2009 graduate of Louisville where he was an honorable mention All-America, might have a slight advantage heading into the season opener. It was last year on the Canadian Tour where he won in Bogota so he'll have that memory to lean on if necessary.
"It wasn't the same course but I do know that I've won there before so that can only help me," Hadwin said.
Last March, Hadwin won the Canadian Tour Colombia Tour Championship with rounds of 66-66-62-69.
Before arriving at Colombia he already knew what to expect because of the altitude. He says the ball will be flying a little longer which will certainly help the scoring average.
"The ball goes crazy far," Hadwin said. "It's about a club and half difference because we are up about 8,000 feet so I would expect there'll be some low scores."
Last year's tournament was won by Brenden Pappas in a weather-shortened 36 holes. Despite all the bad weather Pappas was 9-under through two rounds.
"I don't know the course that well but will obviously get a chance to see it and study it a little bit," Hadwin said.
Hadwin has played in one Nationwide Tour tournament before in 2010 when he played in the Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic in Canada where he made the cut.
Last season on the PGA TOUR, Hadwin played in five tournaments and made all five cuts with two top 10 finishes at the RBC Canadian Open and the Frys.com Open. He had two wins on the Canadian Tour and is confident about his chances this season on the Nationwide Tour.
"Golf is the same whether it's the PGA TOUR or a local mini-tour event -- you have to get the ball in the hole," Hadwin said. "But on the Nationwide Tour and PGA TOUR there is other stuff you have to get used to and adjust to but that's part of the job."
With conditional status to start out this season on the Nationwide Tour his first goal is to earn full status for the season.
"This will be my first season out there and I'll meet a lot of new guys and kind of feel my way around with the traveling and all of that," Hadwin said. "But I'm looking forward to it."
During his off-season where he lived mostly in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada and spent a lot of time at the gym getting ready for the grind of a full season on the Nationwide Tour. He said there's obviously not a lot of good weather in December and January to play in Canada.
Hadwin, who was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, feels his preparation was good despite spending a lot of time in Canada. He also tried a couple of PGA TOUR Monday-qualifiers earlier this year to test out his game.
"I've been ready to go," Hadwin said about the season opener. "I'm ready to take that next step and having this opportunity is great for me. It was kind of a letdown after q-school but I got over that and started to focus on this long season that's coming up."
Hadwin and the others on the Nationwide Tour will be chasing one of the 25 PGA TOUR cards available for 2013. The top 25 on the season-ending money list will move on to the PGA TOUR next season.
Players will be competing for more $16,600,000 over 27 tournaments this season on the Nationwide Tour with an average purse just over $600,000.
Last season in his brief time on the PGA TOUR he averaged 297.5 yards driving and had a solid scoring average of 69.48.
"I just have to go out and play my type of game and I know it's a long season," he said. "But I'm going to take this as a great opportunity and go from there."
John Dell has covered golf for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina for the last 18 years. His views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.