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SCOREBOARD

Hadwin rides hot putter, wedge at Memorial

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A week after missing the cut at the RBC Canadian Open, Adam Hadwin found himself on top of the leaderboard at the Memorial tournament.

Hadwin fired an impressive six-under-par 66 to sit one shot ahead of Scottie Scheffler and two up on fellow Canadian Corey Conners.

“I played a really solid round of golf today,” he said. “I was in play off the tee, I hit a bunch of greens, I had some good looks, and then kind of it got going on the back nine. I hit a few wedges close.”

The Abbotsford, B.C., product got off to a fast start by draining a 30-footer on the first hole for a birdie. He made another birdie on the third hole and dropped a 35-footer on the fifth to move to three under. The remaining five birdies were from close range, a combined 23 feet, as Hadwin’s approach game shined.

“Eight birdies around this place, the wind is always tricky, there's not a lot of margin for error out there on a lot of holes,” stated Hadwin. “I took advantage of some good clubs, just good stock yardages where I didn't have to do a whole lot, which is always a nice feeling.”

The only frustrating part may have been a bogey on his final hole. That came after he failed to sink a six-footer. However, the overall game was solid with him hitting 14 of 18 greens.

Hadwin’s play came after he struggled in his national championship. He fired rounds of 72 and 70 to miss the cut, saying that he may have gotten in his own way mentally. On Saturday, with nothing to do, he went and teed it up at the highly regarded Toronto Golf Club, trying to play without any pressure.

“I was joking with the guys that I used a pushcart,” he said. “I hadn't done that in years, get back to what the game used to be for us growing up, just slugging it around yourself, hitting shots, having fun, enjoying company. The game can wear on you sometimes and I think that I can lose sight of that sometimes with the best of them.”

Hadwin will try to take that relaxed approach to the second round and avoid a repeat of last year at this event where he opened with a 69 but followed it up with a 79 to miss the cut.

Conners’ round of four-under 68 was a continuation of his fine play at the RBC Canadian Open where he logged a sixth-place finish.

As he did last week, he used his putter well, sinking shots from short range – three, five and 11 feet on the front – and long – 26 and 14 feet on the back.

As did Hadwin, Conners ended his day with a bogey on the final hole.

The putter is not usually the Listowel, Ont.-product’s strength, but he said that something clicked last week and it’s continuing to work. At the time of his finish, he was fourth in Strokes Gained: Putting.

“I do feel great with the putter,” admitted Conners. “Putting was great through the Canadian Open last week. I feel like I'm in a similar spot, still and it feels good.”

When he finished his round, Conners was tied for fourth with Xander Schauffele and Ludvig Aberg.