Adam Hadwin on verge of first PGA Tour win with four-shot lead at Valspar Championship

Adam Hadwin on verge of first PGA Tour win with four-shot lead at Valspar Championship
Adam Hadwin follows through on a drive at the 11th hole during the third round of the Valspar Championship on Saturday. (Mike Carlson / Associated Press)

Adam Hadwin only wants a chance to win when he tees it up on the PGA Tour, and he's never had a chance like this one.

Birdie putts from 35 feet and 55 feet on the back nine Saturday at the Valspar Championship stretched his lead to four shots. Equally important to him was the slick, bending six-foot par putt on the final hole.


"Three shots is much easier to come back from than four shots is," Hadwin said after a clean card of four-under-par 67. "That extra shot could be everything tomorrow. That was a big putt for me, I think, mentally going into tomorrow."

The 29-year-old Canadian overcame a brief bout of nerves on the practice range with a flawless day in a strong, warm breeze on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. That six-foot par putt made it 31 straight holes without a bogey, put him at 14-under 199 and gave him the four-shot lead over Patrick Cantlay.

It was the third time in the last four PGA Tour events the 54-hole leader was up by at least four shots, and all of them won comfortably — Jordan Spieth at Pebble Beach, Dustin Johnson at Riviera and Rickie Fowler at PGA National.

More than a big lead, there is not a lot of experience chasing the Canadian. Of the three players within six shots of him, only Jim Herman has experienced winning on the PGA Tour. Herman won the Shell Houston Open last year for his first victory. He had a 71 playing in the final group and fell five shots behind.

PGA Tour rookie Dominic Bozzelli had a 70 and was at eight-under 205.

Hadwin also had a 54-hole lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge when he shot 59 in the third round. He closed with a 70 and was runner-up to Hudson Swafford. He started that final round with a one-shot lead over Bozzelli.

Four shots is a lot bigger than one, though Hadwin said it could work both ways. He knows enough about Innisbrook to realize it can disappear quickly.

"But the other side of things is that guys are going to have to shot a good score to catch you," he said. "To go bogey-free today, I mean, I'd love to do that again tomorrow. I think somebody would have to play an extremely good round of golf to catch me. Make some pars and make guys come and get you."

British Open champion Henrik Stenson never made a move and struggled again getting his distance right in the wind, allowing for only a few reasonable birdie chances. He had another 71 and was seven shots behind, along with J.J. Henry (67).

Three share lead at suspended Indian Open

Defending champion S.S.P. Chawrasia, Eddie Pepperell and Carlos Pigem shared the lead at 6 under in the suspended third round of the Indian Open.

Five-time Asian Tour winner Chawrasia of India, England's Pepperell and Spain's Pigem completed 11 holes before play was suspended because of darkness.