PGA Tour Canadian duo taking Zurich Classic of New Orleans by storm again

Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor know each other’s games inside and out, which explains why they are once again near the top of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans leaderboard at 12-under.

At last year’s Zurich Classic, the Canadians finished solo second at 28-under par, two strokes behind first-time winners Nick Hardy and Davis Riley. Their similar styles, in which they keep the ball in play and find a ton of greens, helped them soar up the leaderboard last year during Sunday’s alternate shot format with a 9-under 63.

“We rode the momentum after Sunday’s round last year. We were a little behind starting Sunday and made a great push there,” Taylor explained after their 3-under 69 during Friday’s alternate shot.

“So after two days, we are in an awfully better position. The forecast calls for a lot of wind, which it was today, so I guess we’ll be used to it, but it will be a little bit tougher. Hopefully, [on Saturday], we can get a good one there and then hold on for dear life on Sunday.”

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Nick Taylor during the first round of the 2024 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Winds have gusted up to 25 miles per hour at TPC Louisiana Friday, and they will continue to blow that hard throughout the weekend.

That will create challenging conditions for the field, but the wind will not phase the Canadians.

“We’ll meet tonight, but I don’t think we’ll be concerned with what happens tomorrow. We’ll watch the hockey game tonight, hang out, have some fun,” Hadwin said.

“We’ll see what [Saturday] brings. We got two cracks at every hole [with the best ball format]. Yeah, keep giving ourselves birdie chances. Again, I love our games in this alternate-shot format. Just steady, don’t make a lot of mistakes, both putt very well. I think [Saturday] is more of a let’s make sure we’re in a position that we’re right there, and if we are, I like our chances.”

Every player in the field will look to make birdies Saturday, knowing that the pressure subsides with two balls in play per group. But the key to alternate shot is limiting mistakes and keeping yourself in position—something this duo does adequately.

“If we are out of position, we’re very smart about the next shot,” Hadwin added.

Adam Hadwin, Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Adam Hadwin putts during the second round of the 2024 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

“Just trying to set up a chance to get up and down.”

Not only does limiting mistakes help, but familiarity with each other does too. That may explain why Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry, a pair of Ryder Cup stars, sit atop the leaderboard at 13-under.

But Hawdin and Taylor have known each other since their teenage years. They even played together in the 2018 World Cup of Golf in Australia, where they tied for fourth.

Yet, this marks their second appearance in the Zurich Classic, and so far, it has been a success.

“I felt like the first five or six years when this event had changed [to a team event], our schedules kind of didn’t really line up,” Taylor said.

“I remember I had a really good friend’s wedding, so I couldn’t come to this event. We came together last year, and we played great. So we decided to run it back, which is fun.”

The Canadians, like Joel Dahmen and Keith Mitchell, are having plenty of fun. But now they have their eyes set on winning the trophy come Sunday evening. Considering their similar styles, familiarity, and easy-going personalities, they have as good a chance as anyone to pull out a victory in The Big Easy.

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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