PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Adam Hadwin only wants a chance to win when he tees it up on the PGA Tour, and he’s never had a chance like this one.
Birdie putts from 35 feet and 55 feet on the back nine Saturday at the Valspar Championship stretched his lead to four shots. Equally important to him was the slick, bending 6-foot par putt on the final hole.
“Three shots is much easier to come back from than four shots is,” Hadwin said after a clean card of 4-under 67. “That extra shot could be everything tomorrow. That was a big putt for me, I think, mentally going into tomorrow.”
The 29-year-old Canadian overcame a brief bout of nerves on the practice range with a flawless day in a strong, warm breeze on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. That 6-foot par putt made it 31 straight holes without a bogey, put him at 14-under 199 and gave him the four-shot lead over Patrick Cantlay.
It was the third time in the last four PGA Tour events the 54-hole leader was up by at least four shots, and all of them won comfortably — Jordan Spieth at Pebble Beach, Dustin Johnson at Riviera and Rickie Fowler at PGA National.
More than a big lead, there is not a lot of experience chasing the Canadian. Of the three players within six shots of him, only Jim Herman has experienced winning on the PGA Tour. Herman won the Shell Houston Open last year for his first victory. He had a 71 playing in the final group and fell five shots behind.
PGA Tour rookie Dominic Bozzelli had a 70 and was at 8-under 205.