Golf: Canada's Hadwin seizes PGA lead at Copperhead

Adam Hadwin of Canada walks off the 18th green as the leader during the second round of the Valspar Championship.
Adam Hadwin of Canada walks off the 18th green as the leader during the second round of the Valspar Championship.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (AFP) - Canada's Adam Hadwin fired a seven-under-par 64 on Friday (March 11) to seize a one-stroke lead over American Jim Herman after the second round of the US PGA Valspar Championship.

The 29-year-old from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, began the back nine at Innisbrook's Copperhead course with five birdies in a row and birdied the par-3 17th as well to lead on 10-under 132 for 36 holes at Palm Harbor, Florida.

"I hit some more-quality golf shots," Hadwin said. "I gave myself a ton of opportunities out there, which makes it easier to play aggressive and attack some of these flags. Putter stayed hot. I made a few more than I did yesterday."

Herman, the first-day leader with an opening 62, fired a 71 to stand on 133 with South Africa's Tyrone van Aswegan another stroke adrift and reigning British Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden sharing fourth with Americans Russell Henley and Dominic Bozzelli on 135.

Hadwin, seeking his first PGA crown, birdied the second but took his lone bogey at the par-5 fifth, finding a greenside bunker on his approach and missing an eight-foot par putt.

He bounced back with a 12-foot birdie at the par-3 eighth and sizzled to start the back nine, putting his approach three feet from the cup to set up a birdie at the 10th.

Hadwin birdied the next four holes, his only putt beyond eight feet a 13-footer at the 12th, then rescued par with a 12-foot putt at the par-3 15th after missing the green.

At 16, Hadwin blasted 35 feet out of a bunker to set up a tap-in par before sinking an eight-foot birdie putt at 17 after a powerful tee shot.

"I smoked a 5-iron," Hadwin said. "That was probably the best shot I hit all day."

Herman, 39, followed 11 pars with a birdie, stumbled with back-to-back bogeys at 13 and 14 but sank a 17-foot birdie putt at 15 and closed with three pars to stay on Hadwin's heels.

Herman's lone PGA Tour victory came at last year's Houston Open, a title he defends in three weeks.

Five back-nine birdies lifted Van Aswegan, who opened with back-to-back birdies, then played the next six holes one-over. He had birdie putts of six feet or less at 10, 13, 14 and 15 and added an 11-footer at 17.

Van Aswegan, 35, took his biggest victories in two events on the Sunshine Tour in his homeland, the 2008 Origins of Golf at Pretoria and the 2008 Affinity Cup in Sun City.