SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — From fans serenading Adam Hadwin with ‘O Canada’ on the 16th hole to Nick Taylor sharing the leaderboard with Hadwin, the first round of the WM Phoenix Open was strongly represented by Canadians.
With the day’s action delayed by an hour and 45 minutes due to frost, the golfers then had to deal with windy conditions. As much as it had affected some in the field, the two Canadian golfers thrived under the conditions.
Taylor and Hadwin each shot 5 under 66s. Since 1983, there has never been two Canadian players tied for the lead after any round of a stroke play event on the PGA Tour.
Thursday’s first round will be completed Friday morning. Both teed off in the morning wave when the wind wreaked havoc on performances, but both kept their cool. Taylor grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and played golf at the University of Washington, while Hadwin is from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
“I feel like a lot of guys that grew up in the cold, we get asked (if we’re used to these conditions) a lot,” Taylor said. “We did it a lot, but we probably prefer the heat now because we’ve moved south. I’ve played enough in it where I kind of know what to expect.”
Both currently live in Arizona and Taylor practices at TPC Scottsdale often, but dealing with the elements added a difference to the course.
“It’s definitely the tougher of the winds,” Taylor said. “I feel like, especially coming down the stretch. All those holes are playing a lot longer than typical. Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of wind conditions, but this was one of the toughest stretches I’ve played out here.”
Feeling right at home
Canadian @AHadwinGolf is serenaded with “O Canada” on the fairway.
He holds a share of the lead @WMPhoenixOpen pic.twitter.com/CunlPjDOFv
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 9, 2023
Taylor was off to a great start with an eagle at No. 3, but then slipped away with a double bogey at No. 6 and a bogey at No. 9. As he went on, he started to take the lead with four consecutive birdies in the back nine. With Taylor taking an early lead ahead of Hadwin’s group, Hadwin wanted to one-up his fellow Canadian. He came close after gaining momentum from a birdie with four holes to go, but he finished the rest on par.
“I’m really disappointed I didn’t get to 6 under because I saw Nick up there, and I wanted to hold it over him tonight,” Hadwin said. “But yeah, it’s fun. It’s a great group to be a part of, and we share a lot of laughs together.”
Hadwin and Taylor are joined in the field this week by other Canadians Corey Connors, Adam Svensson, Taylor Pendrith and Mackenzie Hughes.
Photos: Check out the fans at the people’s tournament, the 2023 WM Phoenix Open
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