Hunter Mahan jetted from Ontario to Dallas upon hearing his wife was in labour. Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
daddy mahan

Golfer gives up lead at $5.6m tournament as wife goes into labour

Hunter Mahan was leading the Canadian Open by two strokes when he learned of the impending arrival of a first born.

Updated 16:20

IF HUNTER MAHAN’S daughter ever kicks up a fuss about being grounded or not allowed out past 9pm, her father can look her in the eyes and, once again, regale her with the story of how she cost him just under a cool $1m.

Mahan, who led the $5.6 million PGA Tour event by two strokes after Friday’s second round, was on the practice range prepping for his weather-delayed third-round start when he received word that his wife, Kandi, had gone into labour. He departed right away for Dallas, some 1,500 kilometres away.

“Kandi and I are thrilled about this addition to the Mahan family and we look forward to returning to the Canadian Open in the coming years,” Mahan said in a statement released after he had already left the tournament in Ontario. He arrived in Dallas to be presented for the birth of his daughter, Zoe. The potential winners’ cheque of $939k was far from his mind.

He tweeted this at 4:15pm today:

In Mahan’s absence, Snedeker stepped up with a bogey-free round of 63 that gave him a 14-under par total of 202 and a one-stroke lead over Sweden’s David Lingmerth. Snedeker commented:

Hunter was going to be hard to catch because he was playing so good, and the way drives the golf ball on this golf course he was going to play really well on the weekend.”

Lingmerth recovered from an opening bogey to post a seven-under 65, capped by an eagle at the par-five 18th.

Americans Matt Kuchar (64) and Jason Bohn (66) were tied for third on 204. Graeme McDowell fired a 76 to finish on 217 (+1) and, bizarrely, miss an additional, Saturday cut. He later tweeted, “Just discovered I missed the Saturday cut at the Canadian Open. Didn’t know there was one. Might have changed my mindset a little?”

Snedeker, who won at Pebble Beach in February but has battled to regain his form after a rib injury that followed, didn’t know Mahan had pulled out until he reached the seventh tee, when he noticed Mahan’s name had disappeared from the leaderboard.

“That just kind of left the tournament wide open,” said Snedeker, the reigning FedEx Cup champion who had already birdied four of the first six holes thanks in large part to solid putting on the course’s rain-softened greens.

$5.6m prize purse

Snedeker said his solid showing on the weekend of the British Open last week had carried forward. “At the British Open I felt really, really good about everything I did,” he said. “It kind of built over to this week.”

The same had appeared to be true for Mahan, who played in the final group at Muirfield last Sunday and finished ninth. Snedeker, a father himself, did not blame Mahan for abandoning the tournament, which has a $5.6m purse.

“I wish them the best,” he said of the Mahans. “I know they’re probably both a little distraught that he’s not here, but this is the best part of their lives … The next 72 hours is going to be so much fun for them.”

Johnson, who had played alongside Mahan in the first two rounds, agreed. “It’s a good thing he is going,” he said. “You never want to see someone withdraw but there is a really good reason.”

– First posted at 10:15am. Additional reporting © AFP, 2013

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