ST. SIMONS Island, Georgia. Until Adam Svensson sunk a 6 foot eagle at 15th failing his second round, he appears to be at risk of missing out on a cut at the 2022 RSM Classic. He hasn’t thought about winning his first PGA Tour event.
“I was just trying to make a cut,” he said. “I didn’t want to go home when I knew I was playing so well.”
So, Svensson handled the cut first, then jumped into the competition from 62 on Saturday and shot 6-to-64 at the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort on Sunday to win the RSM Classic with two strikes over Brian Harman, Callum Tarren and Sahit Tigala. .
“I knew that if I continued to do what I was doing, I would work my way up, but to come out on top is incredible,” Svensson said.
The 28-year-old Canadian’s slow start to the Sea Island plantation field with a score of 1 for 73 was the highest first-round winner since John Rahm at the 2020 BMW Championship. This left him T-108 in the second round and he was seven hits behind at the start of the weekend. The last player to miss out on the top 100 in 18 holes and win was Ian Poulter at the 2018 Cadence Bank Houston Open. It didn’t hurt that Svensson played the last 52 holes without ghosts.
“It’s been my dream since I was 10, 8 years old,” Svensson said. “It’s just incredible.”
Svensson’s shots on the ball have never been questioned, but since he started working with putting coach John Graham a year ago, he’s been making great strides on the green. This week he was in the lead in Hits Received: Putting.
“When you have confidence, when you bet, you feel like you can do anything, and those two or three feet, you just drive them in,” he said.
Svensson, wrapped in a winter hat and windbreaker on an unseasonably cold day in the Golden Isles, was on fire with his stick. In the final round, he hit over 150 feet of punches. After an unsuccessful attempt to birdie on a light par-5 15th Hole and watching Harman and Tigala join the tie upstairs with Tarren, Svensson mothballed the 18-foot uphill from left to right for 16 lead possession.
One hole later, he stuck an 8-by-10-foot par 3 iron and punched again—authoritatively this time—as his ball circled over the cup to provide himself with two-hit cushioning.
“It felt like we were going to have a four-way playoff and then you know it’s not even close,” said US Presidents Cup winner Captain Davis Love III and RSM Classic host.
Svensson, who closed 6-to-64 on 72 holes for a total of 19-to-263, earned his PGA Tour card for the first time in 2019. He showed flashes of brilliance, but he lacked consistency. He admits he only relied on talent and didn’t work hard enough on his game. For too many weeks, he’d finish a tournament, go to a bar, and recover from a hangover for a day or two.
“If you do this,” he said, “you fall behind.”
He had a humiliating season on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 but considers it a blessing.
“It changed my path,” he said.
During that time, he looked at himself in the mirror — “probably after one of those hangovers,” he said — and decided he needed to make some changes if he wanted to reach his full potential. He made a commitment to treat golf like a job and “made the choice to give it 100 percent.” The changes included not drinking alcohol, or, as he put it, “no more dating boys.”
“It turned my life around,” he said.
Svensson transformed his week with a flurry of birds over the weekend and earned his first trip to the Masters – or any other major tournament for that matter. One of those who had no doubt that Svensson could get into the circle of winners was his caddy AJ Montecitos.
“I told him when I first got into his bag that we would win in six weeks,” Montecitos said. “I was wrong. It took him 10.”