La Quinta, Calif. — The temperature barely climbed into the 60s on a spectacular, clear afternoon in the desert after two rainy days. Adam Hadwin stopped counting at 59 — 13-under 59, that is.
The 29-year-old Canadian shot the ninth sub-60 round in PGA Tour history and the second in 10 days to take the third-round lead Saturday in the CareerBuilder Challenge.
“I think everybody talks about kind of they were in a zone and I think that’s kind of what happened,” Hadwin said. “I was thinking about it. I knew exactly where I was. I knew exactly what I needed to do. It just didn’t seem to matter.”
Hadwin made a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th and got up-and-down for par — making a 3-footer — from just off the green on the par-4 18th at La Quinta Country Club.
“Last thing I wanted to do was miss a 3-footer for 59,” Hadwin said. “So, I was more relieved than anything walking off that green.”
Justin Thomas had an 11-under 59 last week in Hawaii in the first round of his Sony Open victory. Hadwin matched David Duval’s tournament record, a 13-under 59 on the Arnold Palmer Private Course in the final round of his 1999 victory. Jim Furyk shot a tour-record 12-under 58 last year in the Travelers Championship.
Hadwin was at 17-under 199 after starting the day tied for 49th at 4 under, a stroke below the eventual cut. He played the first two days at PGA West, shooting 71 on the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course and 69 on the Stadium Course — the site of the final round Sunday.
“The Stadium Course is a much tougher course than La Quinta,” Hadwin said. “It’s a Sunday. I got a chance to win a golf tournament. That’s what you want going into Sunday, and I’m excited about that. … They say one of hardest things in golf is to follow up a low round. I have to figure out a way to convince myself that I just shot 67.”
The former Louisville player is the first Canadian — he was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and grew up in Abbortsford, British Columbia — to break 60 on the tour. He’s also the first to accomplish the feat on a par-72 course since Duval, and the only non-winner to break 60 on the tour.
“I think what gives sort of me the most confidence is that I knew exactly what I needed to do and through that whole process, if anything, I was thinking 58,” Hadwin said. “So, to be able to do it when I needed to. I know I was nervous. The putt barely went in on 17, and I only had 6 feet.”
Hadwin had 13 birdies in the bogey-free round, hit 12 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens in regulation, and needed only 21 putts. He opened with a par with the temperature in the low-50s and snow sparkling on the mountain peaks, birdied the next six and added another on No. 9 for a front-nine 29. He birdied Nos. 11-15 to get to 12 under.
Hadwin credited playing partner Colt Knost for keeping him relaxed.
“He’s a character and so everything was very light, Hadwin said.
Said Knost: “We have been talking all week. We always talk when we play. So, I kept just trying to make it the same way, have fun with it and just talk to him and treat it like it’s a normal round. He knew where he stood, yeah. He was kind of joking about it. He was just focused on what he was doing. He did a great job.”
Rookie Dominic Bozzelli was a stroke back after a 69 on the Nicklaus layout.
“I’ve been riding a hot putter these last couple days,” Bozzelli said.
Second-round leader Hudson Swafford was 15 under with Bud Cauley, Brian Harman and Chad Campbell.
Swafford shot a 71 on the Stadium Course, making a double bogey after hitting left into the 18-foot deep bunker on the par-5 16th and dropping another shot on the par-3 17th after barely reaching the island green. Cauley (65), Campbell (66) and Harman (69) played at La Quinta.
Phil Mickelson closed with a watery double bogey for a 73 on the Stadium Course, leaving him eight strokes back in his return from two sports hernia surgeries. The 46-year-old Hall of Famer had surgery Oct. 19 and again Dec. 12. Caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay also is making a comeback after having both knees replaced.
U.S. Open champ Dustin Johnson shot an 8-under-par 64 in the third round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to catapult into title contention in his first event of 2017. He started the day eight shots off the lead and finished it in a five-way tie for second at 12 under par, one stroke behind new leader Tyrrell Hatton.
Johnson is showing a steady improvement on the 7,583-yard, American-style National Course, which was always going to suit one of the biggest hitters in the sport. He opened with an even-par 72, made the cut by shooting a 68 and then — refreshed after his best sleep of the week — powered through the field by making six birdies and chipping in for eagle from the back of the eighth green.
He’s in contention despite missing out on the par 5s, which are usually his strength. In 12 attempts, he has 11 pars and one eagle, which is bemusing the easygoing American.
“I’ll make four birdies tomorrow, it will be all right,” said Johnson, who switched back to an old putter after the first round.
Martin Kaymer, seeking a fourth victory in Abu Dhabi, started the third round with a one-shot lead over Rafa Cabrera Bello, but they were two of the 14 players who failed to break par on a low-scoring day. Kaymer shot a 72 and Cabrera Bello had a 74.
Bernhard Langer was declared the winner of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship after strong winds blowing across the Hualalai golf course halted play .
“I know a lot of people are disappointed, but I’m not,” Langer said.
It was Langer’s 30th victory on the PGA Tour Champions, moving him into second place on the career list behind Hale Irwin, who has 45 wins on the senior circuit. Langer became the first person to win this event three times while celebrating his 33rd wedding anniversary with wife Vikki.
Sustained winds of 15-25 mph with gusts up to 45 had golf balls rolling off the greens in the tour’s first event of 2017. Only five golfers in the field of 47 finished their rounds, and the scoring average soared to 79.027.