HUDSON SWAFFORD smiles after winning the CareerBuilder Challenge golf tournament at 20-under par on the Stadium Course at PGA West on Sunday in La Quinta, Calif.

HUDSON SWAFFORD smiles after winning the CareerBuilder Challenge golf tournament at 20-under par on the Stadium Course at PGA West on Sunday in La Quinta, Calif.

LA QUINTA, Calif.

A day after making a mess of the 16th and 17th holes on PGA West’s Stadium Course, Hudson Swafford birdied them Sunday to take control in the fittingly named Career- Builder Challenge.

A few minutes later, with rain approaching the desert over the snow-capped mountains, the 29-year-old former Georgia player celebrated his breakthrough first PGA Tour title and first Masters spot.

“They don’t give them away out here. It’s not easy,” Swafford said. “I’ve been close. I’ve been in the heat lately. Just keep putting myself in position, and this just feels unbelievable.”

He tapped in for par on 18 for a 5-under 67 and a one-stroke victory over Adam Hadwin, the Canadian who had trouble scoring after a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club.

“I can’t help but be slightly disappointed,” Hadwin said after a 70. “I really wanted to come out here and kind of prove that yesterday was just kind of a continuation of some good play and kind of get it done today, but I got beat. I felt like I did all the right things. Just a couple shots here and there and who knows what could have happened. But an incredible week, my best finish ever.”

Swafford tied Bud Cauley for the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th, and pulled ahead with the birdies on 16 and 17 — a day after dropping three strokes on the daunting duo.

“Stepped up there and hit some really good shots on those two holes, knowing what happened yesterday,” Swafford said. “I was just really confident on those two holes today. I knew the bad stuff on those holes were gone. I had already seen it, it had already happened, and just visualizing really good shots.”

On the par-5 16th, he hit a 4- iron 230 yards to 12 feet — staying out of the 18-foot deep bunker he hit into Saturday en route to a double bogey — and two-putted to take the outright lead.

“Just trying to maybe chase it up on the front edge, and it was probably my best swing of the day,” Swafford said. “It was just right out of the middle, flew on the green. I thought it was actually even going to get closer than it did. But after what happened yesterday, I was really satisfied with that.”

He hit to 1 1/2 feet on the par-3 17th, a day after barely clearing the giant rocks that ring the island green called Alcatraz. “It was just choke up and swing an 8-iron and it ended up being perfect,” he said.

Hadwin also birdied 16 and 17, making a 25-footer on 17 after Swafford tapped in.

Swafford found the fairway with a 3-wood on the par-4 18th with water along the left side, then avoided the water again with an approach to the right side of the green. He lagged his 20-footer to 2 inches.


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