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SCOREBOARD

Hadwin in the hunt at the Memorial

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By the looks of his final score on Friday, it may seem as if Adam Hadwin was just running on the spot. But his scorecard will show a different story as the Canadian shot an eventful even-par 72 that kept him very much in contention at the Memorial.

On a day when gusting winds played havoc on an already difficult Muirfield Village Golf Course, Hadwin battled through with four birdies, two bogeys and an untimely double to remain in the hunt for the tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus. He ended the day tied in second place with Viktor Hovland, and three shots back of the lead held by Scottie Scheffler.

“It was gusty and it was kind of flipping just a little bit,” Hadwin stated, “just enough to make you think. It's a tricky place to play. There are so many shots where you have to be spot on and when you're playing, whether it's a 10-mile-an-hour gust or a 20-mile-an-hour gust, you're not sure, you kind of have to pick and hope you pick at the right time.”

The Canadian made birdies on three of his first seven holes with just a single bogey. But on the ninth, his approach shot from 109 yards was hit by a wind gust and dropped short into a greenside bunker, leading to a bogey.

His lone birdie on the back nine came on the par-5 15th, when he hit his third shot from a greenside bunker to inside three feet and drained the putt. But two holes later, the wind came back into play again. His tee shot landed in a fairway bunker and he was only able to advance it 73 feet from there. Wind hit his next shot, diverting the ball in mid-air from the green into a bunker and three shots later, he marked a double-bogey on his card.

“I'll be shocked if any other player said it was anything other than a guess,” said Hadwin about trying to predict the wind. “I mean, that's all we're doing, it's just educated guessing, really. You try and control the ball flight to limit the amount the wind will affect it, that's probably one of the biggest things that we can do out here. Thankfully the greens are still somewhat receptive, because if you get too low of a ball flight, once these things start to firm up, then you can't hold greens anymore. So, that's part of the difficulty of this place.”

Muirfield Village didn’t give up many low rounds with only a handful of golfers getting into the 60s. In many cases, it was enough to simply hang out around even par. Corey Conners appeared on his way to a good score, posting a three-under 33 on the front nine. On the back, the gusts took their toll and the Listowel, Ont., native signed for a seven-over 43.

Hadwin heads to the weekend in a position for a good finish. In addition to a healthy paycheque from the signature event, it will have implications on whether he will be one of two golfers to represent Canada at the Olympics. The top two on the Official World Golf Ranking after next week’s U.S. Open will make the trip to Paris next month.

Nick Taylor has essentially locked up one of the two spots and there is a scramble between Hadwin, Conners and Taylor Pendrith for the other. Hadwin, however, said that won’t be on his mind when he tees it up on Saturday and Sunday.

“I am going to do my best to try and win a golf tournament,” he said. “That's it. That's my sole focus. Obviously, Corey's having a pretty decent week himself right now, so trying to win a golf tournament, trying to stay in the same frame of mind, the same process, all those sort of things and, I mean it's been seven years since I've won, so I think it's about time.”