Positive attitude lifts Hadwin to Chiquita Classic title
September 07, 2014
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
- Adam Hadwin is just the second player to earn multiple Web.com Tour titles in 2014. (Joe Chemycz/Web.com Tour staff)
After opening the Chiquita Classic with a course record-tying, 9-under 63, Adam Hadwin struggled a bit in the second round. His even-par 72 included three birdies and three bogeys, and his two-shot lead had turned into a three-stroke deficit.
But after Friday's round, Hadwin was upbeat about his chances for the weekend. He was particularly pleased by a short-iron approach he hit to three feet for birdie on his final hole of the day, the par-4 ninth.
If even par was his bad round for the week, he knew he would be okay. Sure enough, Hadwin rebounded with weekend rounds of 67 and 68, outlasting John Peterson by two shots for his second Web.com Tour victory of 2014.
“It’s very rare to play a tournament where you play great, or well, all four days,” Hadwin said. “Usually you have 18, maybe 27, holes where it’s not perfect golf and you’ve got to grind it out. You’ve got to get to the clubhouse as best you can. That birdie on the last hole of my second round, I hit two really good golf shots, and that boosted me for the weekend.”
Second-round leader Derek Fathauer struggled to weekend rounds of 75 and 72, ultimately finishing T16. Third-round leader Greg Chalmers got off to a rough start on Sunday, playing his first six holes in 3-over, and his final-round 75 led to a T8 finish.
Hadwin, on the other hand, limited the damage in a second round where he struggled to find a rhythm off the tee. His short game kept his score at level par, and he stayed in position to make a charge on the weekend.
Perhaps most importantly, he stayed optimistic about his chances.
“I was talking to my caddie [Joe Cruz] walking up 18, and I told him that three shots back of the lead is the closest that I’ve been in about half a year,” Hadwin said after completing his second round on Friday afternoon. “So it’s not all bad.”
Not all bad, at all.
Adam Hadwin captures win at Chiquita Classic
PETERSON POSITIVE: After completing his pro-am round on Wednesday afternoon, John Peterson was optimistic about his chances to contend at the Chiquita Classic. Although a disappointing Sunday at the prior week’s Hotel Fitness Championship had led to a T12 finish, he knew was feeling good about his game for the first time in a while, and he was ready to compete.
He also knew he liked the course. Peterson finished T3 at last year’s Chiquita Classic, missing an Andrew Svoboda-Will MacKenzie playoff by just one shot.
He contended again this week at River Run CC, playing in the final group with Adam Hadwin and Greg Chalmers, and nearly coming away with the victory.
Peterson shot a final-round 69 to finish solo second and secure his PGA TOUR card for 2014-15.
“I don’t know what it is about it,” Peterson said of his success at River Run CC. “It just looks good to my eye. It’s not overly long; I feel like I can play my game out here and not have to worry about hitting it too long off the tee or anything, to keep up with other guys. It’s a course where I don’t get ahead of myself, and that’s been my problem.”
This sentiment was expressed before the tournament, and Peterson backed up his words throughout the week, opening with a 7-under 65 and staying near the top of the leaderboard the entire way through.
“I’m pretty glad with how it turned out,” Peterson said on Sunday afternoon.
HOGE'S BIG WEEKEND: Tom Hoge was outside the cut line after an opening-round 73 at the Chiquita Classic, but he fought his way into the conversation with a course record-tying, 9-under 63 on Friday morning.
His game held up on the weekend, too. Hoge shot rounds of 69-68 to finish solo third at 15-under 273 and, more importantly, secure TOUR status for the first time.
The Statesville, North Carolina native moved with his family to North Dakota when he was less than a year old, and he graduated from Texas Christian University in 2011. Hoge has played the Web.com Tour since 2012, and he was well aware of the high stakes as he played the final round at River Run CC. With a good score, he could punch his ticket to the TOUR.
With four birdies, no bogeys and some clutch par saves, he did just that.
“Everybody playing here knows what’s at stake here,” Hoge said of the pressure-packed situation. “You kind of feel it the whole way around. As much as I would like to block it out, it’s all right there, but I kind of used that just to focus a little bit more on every shot. You know what’s at the finish line.”
Hoge grinded through the end of the Regular Season just to qualify for the Finals, and the moment of realizing he’ll be playing on TOUR was a whirlwind for him, understandably so.
But he knows how he feels about it.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Hoge said.There have been a handful of guys 5-6 years older than me that played out here, played college golf, but just couldn’t quite get there. So I kind of felt like I did it for all of them today.
--Tom Hoge, on the opportunity to represent his home state of North Dakota on the PGA TOUR next season.
HERMAN'S HEAD: After a final-round 77 at last week’s Hotel Fitness Championship dropped him into a tie for 50th, Jim Herman spent a few days working with sport psychologist Tim Kramer.
Herman knew he was struggling on Sundays (he failed to post a sub-70 final round on TOUR in 2013-14), and he knew he needed to fix that if he wanted to play well enough in the Finals to regain TOUR status for 2014-15.
The Cincinnati native saw immediate dividends on Sunday at River Run CC, firing a 5-under 67 to finish in a tie for fourth at 13 under. Herman birdied seven of his first 14 holes, and he was more than pleased with his best final-round showing of the season.
Herman pulled within two of the lead at one point on the back nine, but he had no idea. His mental approach Sunday hinged on the tried-and-true “one shot at a time” attitude.
“I tried to look at the leaderboard as little as possible,” Herman said. “I’ve been struggling with Sundays this past year, so I didn’t want to think about anything but the shot in front of me. I was able to drive the ball really well today, so I was able to attack some hole locations, and I putted the ball really well.”
FRAUSTRO'S REBOUND: Oscar Fraustro found himself losing his patience during a third-round 71 at River Run CC. He entered Sunday in a tie for 26th, but he felt like he was playing well enough to stand better.
As he prepared for the final round, Fraustro told himself to maintain the best attitude he could throughout the day, no matter what happened on the course – “If I lose, I can laugh about it,” he described as his desired mindset.
The mental fine-tuning certainly worked in the final round, as Fraustro shot a bogey-free 66 that moved him into a tie for fourth. The 32-year-old’s round was highlighted by an eagle 3 on the par-5 18th, when he hit 3-wood, 3-wood to within 35 feet of the pin, and he drained the putt from up and over a slope.
Fraustro missed the cut at last week’s Hotel Fitness Championship, and his performance at River Run CC goes a long way as he strives to earn TOUR status for the first time.
“You know, I was so much more patient today than I have been for the last six months,” Fraustro said. “I played very good the first two days, but yesterday I made multiple mistakes, and I kind of lost it again. It’s been a grind my whole career, and today I was going to have the best attitude I can. That was the difference.”
Best of Sunday Social Media:
Talk about on fire! @ahadwingolf Huge Congrats!! Great stuff! #chasing#1— Nick Taylor (@ntaylorgolf59) September 7, 2014
CLEAN CLOSING: After a second-round 74, Eric Axley felt lucky to make the cut on the number at 1 under, as the cut line teetered between one and two under for most of Friday afternoon.
Axley took advantage of his good fortune on the weekend at River Run CC, shooting 68-67 to finish in a tie for 12th. His final-round, bogey-free 67 was particularly impressive, considering the challenging conditions presented on Sunday morning.
Playing in the first group off No. 1 tee Sunday, Axley made four birdies on the front nine, and he maintained a clean scorecard on the back side while adding a birdie on the par-5 12th. He was disappointed with a birdie on the reachable par-5 18th after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker, but overall he was pleased with his play.
“It’s hard to complain on a Sunday when you shoot 5 under with no bogeys,” Axley said. “There were a lot of holes where the wind made it tougher today -- a north wind -- and the course played totally different today. Considering how I played the second day, I would’ve taken 12th after barely making the cut, for sure.”
Axley, a former PGA TOUR winner, qualified for the Finals by finishing No. 184 in the FedExCup Standings, making 10 starts via past champion status and Monday qualifiers.
STEGMAIER IN LINE: Brett Stegmaier struggled to a 77-74 weekend at last week’s Hotel Fitness Championship, and he wasn’t sure what was wrong.
Stegmaier was relieved after range sessions with his instructor Jeff Leishman on Tuesday and Wednesday at River Run CC, as he realized that there was a quick fix: his alignment was off; he was aiming way right and overcompensating during his swing.
Armed with a correct alignment, Stegmaier stood T2 after two rounds at River Run CC, with scores of 68 and 66. He struggled to a 4-over 76 on Saturday, but he rebounded with a final-round 71 to finish T27.
“I played bad in Portland, didn’t know why,” Stegmaier said. “Played bad in Boise, didn’t know why. I thought my swing had left me for some unknown reason, but it was just a simple fix. I wound up straightening it out, and it made things a lot easier than last week.”
Stat of the Day: Carlos Sainz Jr. recorded a hole-in-one on the par-3 fourth hole Sunday, draining an 8-iron from 163 yards, the only ace of this year’s Chiquita Classic.
Sainz's ace was part of a torrid stretch which included four additional birdies in his first six holes, vaulting him into a tie for the lead.
The former Mississippi State player struggled from there, however, making six bogeys in his final 12 holes to finish with an even-par 72. He finished the week T12 at 10 under.
“I was right there with the lead, and that’s what it’s about,” Sainz said. “It’s a learning experience. Sometimes you’ve got to fall before you get up.”