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FedExCup fate now in Mahan's hands

Hunter fires a final-round 65 at The Barclays to capture his sixth TOUR title

Kandi Mahan stopped short of saying she had a premonition on Saturday night.
But she knew that she and her 1-year-old daughter Zoe needed to fly to New Jersey to see how the final round of The Barclays played out. Her husband, Hunter, after all, would start Sunday's 18-hole finale one shot off the lead with so very much at stake.

Win and he'd vault to No. 1 in the FedExCup. Win and that victory drought of more than two years would be history. Win and U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson just might have him on speed dial next week when he announces his Captain's Picks.  
So Kandi and Zoe knew they had to be there.

"It's just great to be together no matter what," Kandi said Sunday afternoon as she glanced at her curly-haired daughter, who was entertaining herself on the 18th green. "And if Hunter did win, we'd definitely wanted to be there. So we decided we wanted to go. Me and Zoe decided we wanted to go."

Kandi and Zoe left her family's home in Odessa, Texas, at 10:30 on Sunday morning. Luckily, the plane had WiFi so she was able to keep tabs on the competition. Hunter was playing the 15th hole when they landed, and the 16th when the two got to Ridgewood.

"There was no traffic," Kandi said with a smile. "... I mean, I got here quick."

The best part? Hunter had just started a run of three straight birdies when his family arrived. Kandi and Zoe hid in the stately stone clubhouse until he teed off on the 18th hole, then waited outside the tunnel under the grandstands while he saved bogey from the bunker and preserved a two-stroke lead.

Only then did Kandi put Zoe on the ground so she could take those unsteady steps of a toddler toward her daddy, oblivious to the cheers of the crowd. And when Jason Day, playing in the final group, couldn't hole his second shot, Mahan had his first victory since 2012.

And a Kodak moment, as well.

"I think every player dreams about that, when you have a child, for them to come out on the green," Mahan, who closed with a 65, said later. "It wasn't the last group or anything but felt good to see them. ... They always make everything special."

Kandi said her husband was in shock when he realized they were there. The two actually were supposed to meet him on Tuesday in Massachusetts where he will play in the Deutsche Bank Championship -- and now goes in as the top seed in the FedExCup.

"The first thing he was saying is when did you get here, when did you leave?" Kandi said. "He was just so confused. He's so excited. I think once it sets in, we'll have so much fun tonight celebrating as a family."

After one more flight to Boston Sunday night, that is.

The scenario brought back memories of last year's RBC Canadian Open, where Mahan held the lead entering the third round. Less than an hour before he was scheduled to tee off, though, he found out Kandi had gone into labor -- several weeks prematurely -- back in Texas.

Mahan withdrew immediately. A friend knew a friend, well, you know how that story goes, and Mahan hitched a ride on a corporate jet already scheduled to head to Texas on Saturday. Within 15 hours he was by Kandi's side and present for Zoe's birth.

So was it payback, Kandi was asked. "That's one way to look at it," she paused and said with a smile.

Mahan, who is the only player to have competed in all 29 FedExCup Playoffs events, said no payback was needed.

"Well, nothing to make up for but it feels good to be back in contention and get a win," he said. "I was playing great that week, as well, but you never know what could have happened.

"It feels good to get a 'W.' It's been a couple of years, and it feels good the way I did it with a great round on Sunday."


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