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Adam Hadwin becomes first Canadian to shoot a 59 on PGA Tour

By Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun

Canada's Adam Hadwin shot a 13-under 59 during the third round of the PGA Tour's CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, Calif., on Saturday. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/Files)

Canada's Adam Hadwin shot a 13-under 59 during the third round of the PGA Tour's CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, Calif., on Saturday. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/Files)

When Adam Hadwin’s tee shot towards history was yanked on his final hole of the day Saturday, television microphones picked up a voice groaning “Oh bleep!”

About 10 nailbiting minutes, three shots and a spot in the record books later, the only sounds coming from the 18th green were whoops of ground-breaking joy.

The moment his short three-foot par putt disappeared into the cup at La Quinta Country Club, Hadwin became the first Canadian -- and just eighth player all-time -- to ever shoot a round of 59 at a PGA Tour event.

Born in Moose Jaw, Sask. and raised in Abbotsford, B.C., Hadwin, 29, summed up his memorable day like this:

“I don’t know, perfect, I guess ..." he told NBC/Golf Channel when asked about his round.

The perfect answer for, in his mind, the perfect golfing day.

“I was pretty good,” he added. “I was nervous. It’s my first tournament of the season. I just knew I didn’t want to bogie (18).”

He didn’t. And with that, he went to a place no Canadian tour player has ever been before.

Al Geiberger (1977), Chip Beck (1991), David Duval (1999), Paul Goydos (2010), Stuart Appleby (2010), Jim Furyk (2013) and Justin Thomas (2017) are the other members of the 59 Club.

What sets Hadwin apart from this group is that he becomes the first player to card a sub-60 score without having a PGA Tour victory to his name. In the process, on this, easily the biggest day of his young golf career, he also tied Beck’s PGA record for most birdies in a single round with 13 -- something even golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods were never able to accomplish in their illustrious careers.

Hadwin first realized that he had a shot at golfing immortality on the 11th hole. Six holes later, he noticed that he wasn’t the only person on the pristine La Quinta grounds who understood what he was on the cusp of doing.

“Funny, I walked off the green at 17 and said to caddie Joe (Cruz), “Wow, there seems to be more people here than when we started.””

With good reason.

And when word started spreading that Hadwin was flirting with golf history while taming the back nine, NBC/Golf Channel had to scramble to get a camera to follow Hadwin. In the end, it arrived to broadcast his final three holes.

Needing just a par on 18, Hadwin’s wayward shot off the tee somehow found the safety of the short grass. After his approach to the Par 4 finishing hole went just over the green, he successfully completed an up-and-down to become just the fourth player to shoot a 59 on a par-72 course.

The lowest single round ever carded in a PGA event was a 58 shot by Furyk during the 2016 Travelers Championship.

Making his 73rd PGA Tour start, Hadwin entered this week’s CareerBuilder Challenge with eight career top 10s. He’ll try to up that total -- not to mention getting his first win -- when he carries the lead at minus-17 into the fourth round on Sunday, one up on Dominic Bozzelli.

“Everyone talks about being in a zone.” said Hadwin, who needed only 21 putts through the 18 holes.

He certainly was in one on Saturday.

After carding a par on his opening hole, Hadwin birdied the next six and added another on No. 9 for a front-nine 29. He then birdied Nos. 11-15 to get to 12-under, then collected his 13th of the day on 17.

Then came 18.

We’re not sure if it was Hadwin who cursed on the final hole. But we do know this: he’s not cursing now.

mzeisberger@postmedia.com

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