Adam Hadwin at the Masters: As difficult a course as I’ve played

Adam Hadwin runs to the green n the 13th hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 7, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Periodically throughout the Masters, Canadian PGA Tour winner Adam Hadwin will check in with readers to talk about making his first appearance at Augusta National in golf’s first major of 2017.

There’s no question that Augusta National is as difficult a course as I’ve ever played. Sure, I’ve had the chance to play in a U.S. Open,  where the golf course is almost always set up really long, with lots of rough. You can’t make a mistake in those conditions without being penalized for it, but this year Augusta is difficult in a different way. It isn’t about rough or narrow fairways — it is about trying to make recoveries into very difficult greens while the wind swirls.

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For me, the story of Augusta has been that wind and trying to deal with it. Friday wasn’t quite as bad, but Thursday it was really hard to determine what your shot was going to do. Sometimes the wind would switch from being across a shot to downwind, and suddenly you were hitting way too much club. That happened on Thursday when we played 12. Louis Oosthuizen was the first one in our group on the tee on the par 3, and he hit it long over the green. I suspect if I’d been first up, or Zach Johnson, who was also in our group had been playing first, either of us might have hit our tee shot long. The wind was just completely confounding.

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I knew Augusta would be difficult, and I’ve found you’re walking a fine line on almost every hole.  Bad shots are going to happen and making sure you make as few mistakes as you can.
On Friday I was playing solidly and wasn’t really making any significant mistakes until I came to the 17th hole. I’d put myself in a pretty good spot, but is can disappear so quickly.

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The 17th hole isn’t one that gets a lot of discussion, but it isn’t easy. I hit my tee shot into the trees on the left, and suddenly needed to get up and down just to make bogey. I couldn’t do it and I watched all the hard work from early in the tournament disappear.

I guess you could say it came at the end of the round, so it hurts more, but I don’t buy that notion. I’m not sure it matters whether it is at the end of the round or on the fourth hole—it hurts nonetheless.

My mindset doesn’t change from the first two days. Sure I made the cut, but I didn’t come here just to make the cut. Don’t get me wrong—I love walking around Augusta for two more days. But I want to contend—that’s the goal.

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On Saturday the wind will likely be down, but trouble is everywhere. It is a cliché, but I’ll try to hit fairways and greens and make a few putts. I’ve done that well all year, and if I could make a few more putts I could move up. You keep a level-headed mindset and grind away.

You never know when the opportunity might come—some guys had four or five birdies in a row today. I have two days to make back all the bogeys I’ve left out there, and that’s my focus.

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