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Attitude adjustment gets Adam Hadwin back on track

Adam Hadwin, seen here during the first round of the U.S. Open championship in 2013

Julio Cortez/The Associated Press

Adam Hadwin says he never aspired to be anyone else; never wanted to be Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy or even Mike Weir. But, his victory Sunday at the Tour Chile Classic means he's one step closer to joining them on the PGA Tour.

Hadwin's triumph marked the first by a Canadian on that circuit since Chris Baryla in 2009. It also affirmed that Hadwin's off-season of emotional, physical and mental changes were paying off.

Hadwin began his 2014 Tour campaign with a tie for eighth in Columbia and came into Chile with a renewed sense of confidence. Something that he says he hopes will serve him well for the rest of the season.

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"I set out at the beginning of the year to change my attitude and not to expect to be there and not to expect to get a PGA Tour card. Instead of feeling that I should be there, I had to go out and earn it myself," Hadwin says.

Hadwin burst onto the golf scene in Canada five years ago after a successful tenure at the University of Louisville. He won four Vancouver Golf Tour events in 2009, then made a big splash in 2010 and 2011. He won the Rivermead Cup as the low Canadian at the RBC Canadian Open both of those years, including finishing tied for fourth at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club – about an hour's drive west of his hometown of Abbotsford, B.C.

All signs were quickly pointing Hadwin towards the big stage of the PGA Tour, but that did not turn out to be the case.

"Some of the things I did in 2011 were pretty special. And then getting so close to getting a PGA Tour card in 2012 was a bit frustrating, knowing the season I had before and knowing I can compete on the PGA Tour. Then in 2013 that took over a little bit more. I grew increasingly frustrating as the year went on when I wasn't playing good golf," he explains.

After an underwhelming 2013 season, Hadwin knew it was time to make a change.

"It wasn't my golf game last year that put me where I was. I've been a good swinger of the golf club since I've been born. I've had a natural ability to make a good path at it," Hadwin says not with cockiness, but with strong self-belief. "It was my goal this off-season to get into a better mindset to handle any obstacle."

Hadwin's laid-back demeanor acts as a contrast to the latest PGA Tour winner Patrick Reed's comments from Sunday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Reed said he felt he was one of the top five players in the world, and proceeded to list his recent accomplishments.

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Reed's play was impressive, yes, but his comments are what made headlines.

Hadwin, meanwhile, remains cool, calm and collected. And, focused on his ultimate goal – getting to the PGA Tour.

"I wish I could give you some Patrick Reed quotes here, but I want to just give myself chances and hope that everything falls into place," says Hadwin.

Despite his quick success in 2014, Hadwin explains that more important than his place on the money list – he currently leads it after two events – is continuing to do what he's done so far and trying to take that attitude through the rest of the year.

"The money list is secondary. Everything is secondary to getting the job done on the golf course. I know what it takes," he says.

On top of that, Hadwin wants to stay true to himself. "I just want to be the best Adam Hadwin I can be, I'm not going to strive to be someone other than who I am," Hadwin explains.

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If he does that, he hopes further success won't be too far behind.

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