Canada's Hadwin Leads After Opening Round At Memorial | CBC Sports


Adam Hadwin had too many birdies to complain about ending his round at the Memorial on a sour note Thursday. His 6-under 66 was enough to lead Masters champion Scottie Scheffler by one shot and give the Canadian hope he is turning the corner at the right time.

Abbotsford, B.C., native leads Masters champion Scheffler by 1 after 6-under 66

Doug Ferguson · The Associated Press

· Posted: Jun 06, 2024 9:01 PM EDT | Last Updated: 5 hours ago

Adam Hadwin shoots from the 10th tee during the first round of the Memorial golf tournament in Dublin, Ohio on Thursday. (Sue Ogrocki/The Associated Press)Adam Hadwin had too many birdies to complain about ending his round at the Memorial on a sour note Thursday. His 6-under 66 was enough to lead Masters champion Scottie Scheffler by one shot and give the Canadian hope he is turning the corner at the right time.

Hadwin was among the few who conquered a Muirfield Village course that was soft from rain but no less punishing. The Abbotsford, B.C., golfer birdied four of five holes toward the end of the first round — after four birdies on the front nine — until missing a 5-foot par putt on the tough 18th.

For Scheffler and PGA champion Xander Schauffele, it was more of the same.

Scheffler opened with two birdies in four holes — he missed birdie chances from six feet and eight feet on the other two — and was humming along until a big clump of mud slowed him on the par-5 fifth hole and led to bogey.

WATCH | Abbotsford, B.C., native Hadwin claims 1-stroke lead with 6-under 66:

B.C.’s Adam Hadwin leads after opening round of the Memorial TournamentAdam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., carded a 6-under 66, to claim a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.

Schauffele returned for the first time since winning his first major at the PGA Championship. His game felt scrappy from tee-to-green. His round was saved by his putter. Schauffele somehow managed a bogey-free 68 to get right in the mix.

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., was at 68 alongside Collin Morikawa and Ludvig Aberg. Defending champion Viktor Hovland was among those at 69.

Surrey, B.C., native Adam Svensson finished the day at 72, while Nick Taylor — who’s also from Abbotsford — shot a 1-over 73. Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., had a 74 and Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., finished with a 78.

Olympic implicationsHadwin and Conners are coming off the Canadian Open, and it’s an important time of the year with only two weeks before the 60-man field for the Olympics is finalized. Each country gets two players (a maximum of four if they’re in the top 15).

Hadwin hasn’t finished in the top 40 since late March, and his world ranking has dropped from No. 44 to No. 59.

Conners is at No 45, while Taylor Pendrith and Mackenzie Hughes are right behind him at Nos. 64 and 65 (Phoenix Open winner Nick Taylor has the first spot sewn up).

“Over the last month I’ve probably played my way … not out of the conversation, but certainly out of a good position to be in,” Hadwin said. “So coming into this week, I know the questions are always going to be there, but I think for me in particular, it was very important this week to get into the process.”

Scheffler, Schauffele start strong againScheffler has been in the process for what seems like forever. He already is a four-time winner this year, including another Masters title. He never seems to miss a shot.

But after splitting the middle of the fairway on the 535-yard fifth hole, Scheffler looked down to see a large clump of mud on the top and to the right of his golf ball. It was enough to consider laying up, except a creek runs down the middle toward the green, and he had no idea which direction the ball was going with so much mud on it.

“Hindsight, maybe I could have aimed it down the middle of the creek and just see where it would have went and maybe it goes in one of the fairways,” he said. “But at the time, that didn’t really seem like a good idea.”

So he went for the green and watched it fly 60 yards left of where he wanted — left of the green, left of the water, left of a red hazard line that rarely comes into a play on a hill.

He hacked out of high grass back over the water and over the green, leaving a chip to a tight pin and a green running away from him. He delicately got that to the fringe and made bogey on the easiest hole of the day.

Schauffele was bogey-free and he’s not sure how. His biggest scare also came at the fifth with a mud ball of his own. This sailed right on him into a bunker, requiring a shot over another bunker to a tight pin. The sand was wet, Schauffele caught too much ball and watched it disappeared over the green. That’s where more water awaits.

“When the ball was in the air, I closed my eyes,” he said. “I wouldn’t call myself religious, but I was hoping that thing was going to be OK.”

He came up short of the water and managed to get up-and-down for par by making an 8-foot putt. He took care of the other par-5s with birdies, added another with a 30-foot putt on the par-3 fourth and only minorly perturbed by missing an 8-foot birdie chance at the end.

“If I didn’t make some of the putts I needed to today, it would have been like a 2-over probably, or worse,” Schauffele said.

Only 25 players from the 73-man field managed to break par, a group that included Rory McIlroy at 70, and that was with four birdies on his last six holes.

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