PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND – When Adam Hadwin booked his travel plans for the Open Championship, he included seats for he and his wife. But he probably should have added another one for his putter.
After two rounds over the rumpled fairways of Royal Portrush, Hadwin is hitting it as well as anyone from tee to green. But his putter has failed him miserably so far.
When he walked off the course, he was sitting just inside the cut line with more than half the field yet to finish. With miserable weather rolling in for the afternoon, the chances of getting two more spins around the Harry Colt design were promising but Hadwin didn’t think he should be in that position.
“It’s frustrating,” announced Hadwin after his day ended. “I feel like I should be two or three under for the tournament, fairly easily, without doing anything crazy and I’m sitting at one over and hoping to play the weekend.”
On Friday, the Abbotsford, B.C.-product managed a two-under round that got off to a promising start as he scooted out to a four-under opening nine. But the back side wasn’t as generous and he stumbled home with two bogeys and seven pars.
The toughest part of the day was undoubtedly his stale flat stick. That’s surprising because it had been the hottest club in his bag leading up to this week. In his last start prior to the Open at the 3M Open, Hadwin was fourth in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting. At the RBC Canadian Open he was 19th.
“I’m still searching for it,” he stated, with a shake of his head. “It seems to have not made the flight over here.”
Part of the difficulty is the dramatic change in speed on the putting surfaces here compared to the regular glass-like conditions on the PGA Tour. The greens at Royal Portrush were running around 10 on the stimpmeter, which means a full hip turn is required on the long ones.
Adding to the frustration is that the rest of the Canadian golfer’s game was brilliant on Friday. He hit 17 of 18 fairways and missed just two greens creating the potential for a low one.
“It was a bit of a Corey Conners day,” joked Hadwin, referencing the noted accuracy of his fellow Canuck.
The 30-year-old Hadwin did have one of the more dramatic shots of the day, holing his nine-iron second from 151 yards for an eagle on the par-4 eighth. The ball took one hop on the green and dove into the bottom of the cup.
However, on the back nine, the good swings and big breaks seemed to disappear. Bogeys on 12 and 16, as well as great looks for birdies on 17 and 18 that didn’t drop, stunted the second half of the round.
“I was hitting the ball well,” he lamented. “I had chances, stealing one there, knocking one in on eight. But after that, just kind of below-average golf. Thankfully a good start kind of saved me right now.”