WINDSOR STATION, N.S. -- He may have stumbled in the second round of the Nova Scotia Open with a two-over 73. He may have finished his day with a sloppy bogey and there may be a hurricane bearing down on Ashburn Golf Club which will mean a long day of waiting around on Saturday, but none of it could dampen the enthusiasm Adam Hadwin has been showing this week.
The resident of Abbotsford, B.C., slipped back on Friday but was still smiling in a post-round chat on Friday. Hadwin, who opened with a 66 on Thursday, was slow from the gate the second time around the course.
"It was just one of those days," said Hadwin. "(Thursday) everything seemed to go right. I missed it in the right places, got up and down when I needed to, made a few putts. Today was the complete opposite. I didn't hit it very well starting out."
The third-year Web.com Tour player made a double on the par-3 fifth hole after hitting a shank.
Yup, a shank.
He bogeyed the next par-3, the eighth, before righting the ship on the back side with birdies on the 10th and 12th.
There were many more opportunities over the final six holes, but nothing dropped on the exceptionally difficult greens, which are starting to cause frustration among the field.
"You take a look at the last hole, I had a four-footer for par and I'm lagging it," said Hadwin. "I had a putt on 14 that I had to lag from 15 feet. I had 15 feet and had to play four or five feet of break. The greens are very difficult if you get out of position and I was perfectly in position yesterday and I wasn't today."
The sour ending came when he just missed a 10-footer on the 17th for a birdie and then lipped out a four-footer on the 18th for a finishing bogey. In the past, that type of conclusion to the day may have kept Hadwin steaming for some time. But as a sign of how far he's grown as a professional, he was positively chipper as he walked off the course, smiling to his fans and acknowledging the applause.
"I used to have troubles putting bad shots behind me," he admitted. "They would stick with me for a little bit and that's something that I worked really hard to improve on and to get better at, and know that's going to help make me a better player."
There are many who expected he'd already be that better player by now, already be on the PGA Tour. Those expectations were fueled in large part by his RBC Canadian Open performance in 2010, when he finished as low Canuck, and then again in 2011 when he came within a couple of shots of winning the Open outright in front of hometown fans in Vancouver.
But, not surprisingly, Hadwin couldn't keep up the meteoric rise and has found himself trying to re-set his game and his career, admitting that he probably hadn't worked hard enough. At the start of this year, he decided to re-dedicate himself, taking a more professional approach to everything he did. Blessed with immense natural talent, he realized that alone wouldn't be enough to get him to his goal of the PGA Tour. He wanted to work hard every week and be prepared as best he could when he stepped on the first tee on Thursday.
"That sort of continued from the end of last year," Hadwin said. "I thought I did a much better job of knowing the golf course, knowing where to miss and all that. I'm still getting better, it's still something I can improve on but I'm giving it my best shot, trying to understand the golf course. . . when to be aggressive, when not to be aggressive. Obviously I'm playing a lot better this year than I have in past years so it must be working."
You can make a good argument that Hadwin is the most popular Canadian golfer not playing the PGA Tour. His personality is positively effervescent and he is a marketer's dream, smiling and engaging fans non-stop (just this week, he inked a new sponsorship deal with Shaw). He had the largest contingent of Haligonians on Friday, who followed him around and cheered his strong play.
"It is noticeable for sure," Hadwin admitted. "It is a good feeling to know you have support. On Twitter and Facebook and all those social media outlets, to hear the words of encouragement and support even when I'm not playing well, (it's good to know) people are supporting me. It's nice and it makes getting over rounds like this easier."
Of course his improved play this season doesn't hurt either. Hadwin notched a win earlier this year in Chile and has three other top-10 finishes to sit sixth on the Web.com Tour money list with just over $200,000. He is all but guaranteed of advancing to the PGA Tour next year by finishing inside the top 25.
And he admits that there have been times when he's allowed his mind to wander and think about joining the big leagues.
"I've thought about it a few times," Hadwin said, "but at the same time including playoffs I think we have 10 events, 11 events left in the year. So there's lots of events left, lots of money to be made. When you get to the golf course and get into that competition mode it's 'All right what's my next shot? How can I hit the best shot possible?' Everything future-wise kind of goes out the window and you're just focused on getting the ball in the hole in the fewest shots possible."
But when he's off the course, with time on his hands, say, riding out a long weather delay, it can be a little different.
"When you're sitting through Hurricane Arthur in your hotel room with nothing to do, you might start to think Greenbrier looks pretty good right now," he chuckled.
Ah yes, Arthur. The hurricane is on a collision course with Halifax and organizers have already announced that there will be no play until noon on Saturday at the earliest. Judging by the forecast, that might be optimistic.
For Hadwin, however, hurricane or not, he'll be ready to go whenever he next tees off.