(Reuters) – Canadian Adam Hadwin overcame a late double-bogey to clinch his first victory on the PGA Tour, a one-stroke win over American Patrick Cantlay at the Valspar Championship in Florida on Sunday.
Hadwin made a one-foot tap-in par for the victory after Cantlay bogeyed the par-four 18th, failing to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker.
The Canadian carded a closing 71 to finish at 14-under-par 270 on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, with Cantlay (68) second on 13-under.
Hadwin is the 14th Canadian to win on the PGA Tour. His victory earns him an invitation to next month’s Masters, which means he will need to postpone his honeymoon planned for that week.
Hadwin had fallen back into a tie with Cantlay at the par-four 16th, carving his drive into a water hazard and dropping two shots.
“I certainly didn’t knock myself out of the tournament but made it a lot closer than I was liking it to be,” the 29-year-old from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan told Golf Channel after giving his fiancée Jessica a huge hug and kiss.
“That (bad shot) came out of nowhere. I had striped it all day and all week.
“I knew I needed to keep hitting some good shots. Proud of myself for the way I hung in there. Lucky I had a tap-in on 18. I don’t know if I’d have made it if it had been much further.”
Cantlay, a former top ranked amateur, was downbeat after making a mess of the last, where a poor approach shot followed by a mediocre bunker shot left him with a 15-footer for par, which he missed.
Playing on a medical extension on the PGA Tour after battling a stress fracture in his back, the prize money he earned for second place was enough to gain his card as a full playing member.
“I guess it’s the one positive from this week but I was just trying to go out and win the golf tournament,” said Cantlay. “Overall I played really good golf.”
Cantlay, 24, had experienced a tragedy last February when his caddie Chris Roth was struck and killed by a car as the pair were crossing a road in California.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry)