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Chesson Hadley surprises at Palmetto Championship at Congaree

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Halfway leader had missed 10 cuts in last 12 starts, including five straight

    Written by Cameron Morfit @CMorfitPGATOUR

    RIDGELAND, S.C. – Don’t despair if you didn’t have Chesson Hadley in your fantasy lineup for the Palmetto Championship at Congaree this week.

    Even Hadley isn't sure he wouldn't have picked himself.

    Although he has won on the PGA TOUR (2014 Puerto Rico Open), Hadley has struggled mightily this season, twice going five straight starts without seeing the weekend. He came into this week 192th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, 151st in the FedExCup, 320th in the world.

    Only his putting, in which he ranked 14th on TOUR, seemed to be keeping him afloat.

    Two things have happened at Congaree. That alacrity with the flatstick has gone into overdrive – he made nearly 137 feet of putts Friday – and he’s rediscovered his tee-to-green game. With the afternoon wave still on the course he was gaining 8-plus strokes on the field from tee to green.

    “It’s nice to be relevant again,” he said after racking up 14 birdies through the first two rounds.

    Fortunes can change quickly in this game, and Hadley mentioned a long-ago lunch with James Hahn, who had missed eight straight cuts before winning the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship.

    For Hadley to author his own rags-to-riches story, he’ll have to keep it going on the weekend.

    “You know, last night I'm getting texts from everybody,” he said, “like, ‘Great playing.’ I appreciate that, and it does make me feel good that I have that type of support, but let's – I got a lot of golf to be played.

    “I'm very thankful to be in the spot I'm at and not have to sweat out a cut line,” he added.

    Cameron Morfit began covering the PGA TOUR with Sports Illustrated in 1997, and after a long stretch at Golf Magazine and joined PGATOUR.COM as a Staff Writer in 2016. Follow Cameron Morfit on Twitter.