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New dad Mahan returns to seek glory

other Updated: Aug 07, 2013 01:54 IST

AFP
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Hunter Mahan is back on the golf course after racing away from a lead to witness the birth of daughter Zoe, hoping for a major breakthrough at the PGA Championship.

The 31-year-old American has played in the final Sunday pairing of the past two majors but could not capitalise, sharing fourth at the US Open and ninth at the British Open. But since then, Mahan has become a father. Leading the Canadian Open 10 days ago, Mahan learned just before his third round was to start that his wife, Kandi, had gone into labour. He flew home to be with his wife who gave birth at 3:26 the next morning.

“It feels great, “Mahan said. “It was a wild day but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

After taking a week off to stay at home, Mahan only played his first practice round two days ago and nine holes at Oak Hill on Monday. “Staying home last week, really just cherishing that time and being with Kandi and Zoe, I got that out of my system to where I can come back,” he said.

Mahan has not won a title since last year’s Houston Open and his best finish in seven prior PGA Championships was a share of 16th in 2009. But he has become familiar with last-group Sunday tension in majors. “It has been very encouraging to be in the final group in a major,” Mahan said.