Adam Hadwin leads the Memorial, believes he has learned from last year’s poor showing

At last year’s Memorial Tournament, Adam Hadwin quickly went from being a contender to a pretender.

He opened with a 3-under 69 at Jack’s Place but stumbled with a 7-over 79 on day two to miss the cut by one. He shot a 6-over 42 on the front-nine on that fate-sealing Friday, thanks to a triple bogey at the 3rd and a double at the par-4 9th.

“I think you can hit a pretty—what you feel like is a pretty decent shot around this place and end up making double, which you can’t say on very many golf courses,” Hadwin said Thursday.

“At the time, mentally, I probably wasn’t prepared to handle that and fight through to the finish, and I think right now, I feel like my game has been getting better. The results haven’t shown it, but I’ve been trending where I want it to go, and I think today was just a bit of a culmination of that.”

Hadwin carded a 6-under 66 on Thursday, the best round of the day at Muirfield Village. He leads Scottie Scheffler by a stroke after day one, and he believes he is mentally stronger this time around in Columbus.

He also feels more comfortable, too.

“I feel pretty comfortable right now over the golf ball with the entire game. I never felt rushed, as I kept making birdies like I was [never] getting ahead of myself. Very comfortable,” Hadwin said.

Adam Hadwin, PGA Tour, the Memorial Tournament

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

“There’s just too many holes where the margin for error is so small that you can feel like you hit a good shot and get absolutely screwed. So I feel like I’m mentally in a really good place to be able to handle that, move forward, and accept it. So we’ll show up [Friday], get ready, and we’ll see what it holds.”

Hadwin opened up with four birdies over his first seven holes to quickly soar up the leaderboard. A misfire at the par-3 8th led to a bogey, serving as somewhat of a heat check, but that did not halt the Canadian’s momentum going to the back nine.

He rifled off four more birdies between holes 13 and 17, climbing all the way to 7-under.

“[Very pleased with] eight birdies around this place,” Hadwin added.

“The wind is always tricky. There’s not a lot of margin for error out there on a lot of holes. I took advantage of some good clubs, just good stock yardages where I didn’t have to do a whole lot, which is always a nice feeling.”

But Hadwin stumbled on the 18th hole, dropping a shot after missing the green to the left. He said closing with that bogey ‘stung,’ yet he still leads by one.

“It’s only Thursday; a lot of golf left. I played a really solid round of golf today,” Hadwin said.

“I took advantage of a little bit softer Muirfield Village with the rain overnight, and we’ve got three more rounds to go. I’ve been torn apart by this place before, so I know how quickly it can sneak up on you.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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