The end result wasn’t exactly what he might have hoped for, but the opportunity to play alongside PGA Tour pro Adam Hadwin in the final group at the Vancouver Golf Tour’s Johnston Meier Insurance Vancouver Open on Sunday was an amazing opportunity for Connor O’Dell.
O’Dell, who will embark on his fifth and final season with the University of the Fraser Valley golf program this fall, played his way into the final group after opening the 54-hole event with rounds of 68 and 71, posting eight birdies and an eagle along the way. That left him at -3 for the tourney, tied for the lead with Kevin Stinson and one up on Hadwin heading into the final round.
Hadwin, who has earned just shy of $1.8 million on the PGA Tour over the past two seasons, was back home in Abbotsford visiting family during a break in his schedule and took the opportunity to enter the VGT’s signature event. He fired a 67 at Pagoda Ridge on Sunday to get to -7 and edge Stinson and Riley Wheeldon by two strokes.
O’Dell, a two-time CCAA All-Canadian from Maple Ridge, settled for a 76 which left him tied for seventh place at +1, albeit as the top amateur in the field. He was one of three current Cascades in the event – Connor McLellan, the individual bronze medalist at the recent Canadian University/College Golf Championship, was tied for 10th at +2, and Cody Stewart (+30) was 54th.
“It’s obviously going to be a huge learning experience for him, watching how a guy who playing regularly on the PGA Tour conducts himself on the golf course,” said Cascades head coach Chris Bertram, reflecting on O’Dell’s opportunity to play with Hadwin in a tournament setting. “Obviously it’s a bit of an intimidating situation – I talked to him after the round, and he said he was a little nervous. But he hung tough and hit a lot of good shots on Sunday.
“As he looks to move forward in his professional journey eventually, I think he’ll look back at this experience and it’ll help make him a better player.”