Hadwin helps Internationals get off to sizzling 4-1 start at Presidents Cup

Hadwin helps Internationals get off to sizzling 4-1 start at Presidents Cup


MELBOURNE, Australia — Adam Hadwin was serenaded on the first tee, 16 holes later he made the biggest putt of his Presidents Cup career.

It was a great day for the entire International team at Royal Melbourne, as they got off to the fast start they had been talking about all week.

They will begin play on Friday three points up on the Americans.

The Internationals won four matches and lost just one in the four-ball format. The lone American win came early with playing-captain Tiger Woods and partner Justin Thomas defeating Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann 4&3.

That was it for the heavily- favoured Americans though.

Hadwin and partner Sungjae Im defeated Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay 1-up in a tight match that was all square for most of the back nine. Adam Scott and Ben An beat Bryson Dechambeau and Tony Finau 2&1. Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan won their match 1-up, and Louis Oosthuizen and Abraham Ancer ran away with a 4&3 victory.

Hadwin’s day began with Aussie fan group the Fanatics, dressed head to tow in green and yellow, making a mess of a Bette Midler classic, by belting out “Hadwin Beneath My Wings” as the 32-year-old was poised to begin his second Presidents Cup. Minutes later, Sungjae Im chipped in for eagle to give the Internationals an early one-up lead.

But it was a seven-foot par putt on the 16th to win the hole and give his team a 1-up lead they wouldn’t relinquish that Hadwin will remember.

“Getting that one to drop on 16 was huge, it sent shivers through my body and that reaction from the crowd was great,” Hadwin told Postmedia on the back of the 18th green.

Hadwin seemed to enjoy the spirited intro on a cool Melbourne morning in the spitting rain. His partner, PGA Tour rookie of the year Im, followed up a perfect drive on the first hole with a chip-in eagle at the short par four to give the pair an early lead.

Hadwin is now off and running at the event he’d waited two years to get a second chance at. After a disappointing performance personally and as a team at the 2017 Presidents Cup in New York, earning a captain’s pick from International captain Ernie Els was the number one priority for Hadwin this fall. He opened the 2019-20 PGA Tour season with a runner-up finish at the Safeway Open and a T4 finish at the Shriner’s Classic, and last month Hadwin had his name called by Els.

Getting his first win in the Presidents Cup on Thursday at Royal Melbourne is a great way to start.

“Finally, yes,” Hadwin said of the match victory.

Hadwin didn’t seem particularly comfortable with his swing early in the round on the difficult golf course, but his first test of the day came at the par-3 third hole where he faced a 15-foot par putt that would force Schauffele to try to make a short birdie putt to win the hole. Hadwin rolled his in and Schauffele missed, so the International maintained their 1-up lead.

Hadwin’s next pressure putt came one hole later at the fourth after Cantlay made a long birdie putt. Hadwin had hit his approach 10 feet from the hole but faced a dangerous right-to-left putt that broke a foot before falling gently in the right side of the hole.

“I made some putts when we needed to,” Hadwin said. “Putts that maybe didn’t seem so important at the time, like that putt on three. There were definitely some momentum holders and keepers.”

Hadwin showed off his excellent putting touch, something assistant captain Mike Weir predicted a day earlier.

“It’s not like the PGA Tour where you can play it half a ball out and just firm it in,” Weir said on Wednesday. “Here, on a four-foot putt you could be playing three cups of break and it has to die in the hole … you have to have your touch dialled in, and Adam has that.”

There were big shots made by both teams throughout the tight match but the putt on the 16th was the shot of the match.

“That’s what we practice for,” Hadwin said. “Those moments right there.”



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