Svensson and Hadwin show tenacity at The Players Championship

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Adam Svensson and Adam Hadwin both admitted Sunday at TPC Sawgrass they were fighting with their swings. But when the dust settled it seemed like they won their battles.

Both Svensson and Hadwin finished tied for 13th this week at The Players Championship, earning just over $447,000 USD in the process.

Scottie Scheffler shot a 3-under 69 Sunday to win by five shots – an impressive performance by the newly minted world No.1.

Svensson was grouped with Scheffler for Saturday’s third round after he was leading the tournament by two shots. That was Svensson’s first 36-hole lead in his PGA TOUR career.

The native of Surrey, B.C., struggled in the third round, but regrouped to shoot a 1-under 71 Sunday, including making birdies on Nos. 13, 16, and 18 to close out his week.

“I lost my golf swing the last two days and I found a little bit here and there I just kind of scraped it in and somehow birdied 16 and 18 there and pretty happy about that,” Svensson said.

The former member of the Golf Canada National Team said he learned plenty after being in the third round’s final group and seeing Scheffler’s dominance (the American topped Svensson by 10 shots on Saturday) up close.

“Biggest thing is putting myself in that situation… now I feel calmer just being out here and more relaxed,” Svensson said. “Once I get into that position more often I’ll be better each time and learn from the experiences this week.”

Svensson won’t be wallowing too long in how this week turned out. On Monday he’s off to Augusta National for the first time for a pre-Masters scouting trip. He earned a spot in this year’s Masters after his maiden PGA TOUR victory at The RSM Classic in November.

“I’ve always dreamt of going to Augusta so it should be pretty cool,” said Svensson.

From one Canadian who has already locked up a spot at the Masters to another hoping to do the same, Hadwin matched Svensson with a closing 1-under 71 at TPC Sawgrass. He was in prime position to inch up higher on the leaderboard despite a few ill-timed mistakes on his back nine.

Hadwin missed a six-footer for par on No. 13 and missed a three-footer on his closing hole of the week.

The native of Abbotsford, B.C., admitted there were only about 18-25 holes where he “really felt in control” of his golf ball this week. The other ones, he said with a smile, he was picking his targets and trying to do the best he could.

“It worked out more often than not,” he said with a laugh.

Regardless of that feeling, Hadwin still had an elite ball-striking week. He was fourth in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green.

He also said his tee shot on 18 and his approach on 16 were two of the best shots he hit all week, and he’ll take the positive feels from those into next week.

“Things could be worse. Obviously I want them to be better but it all netted out today,” said Hadwin.

“I think any time you finish top 20, any time you’re in the top 20 in a tournament of this calibre with a field of this strength you’re doing something right.”

Hadwin started the week ranked No. 67 in the world and will officially move up to No. 61 the new rankings are released Monday. If he gets into the top 50 after the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play then he’ll earn a spot in the Masters. Hadwin will tee it up at the Valspar Championship next week – where he won in 2017 – before teeing it up at the Match Play in two weeks.

Taylor Pendrith was the other Canadian to make the cut at TPC Sawgrass. The Richmond Hill, Ont., native was tied for third after the first round, but slipped down the leaderboard Sunday after a final-round 80 and ended up tied for 69th.

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