By Steve Keating
OAKVILLE, Ontario (Reuters) - Brandt Snedeker will use some of the $1 million purse from his Canadian Open win on Sunday to buy Hunter Mahan's new baby daughter Zoe a gift after his rival surrendered a shot at a big payday to return home for her birth.
"Zoe will be getting a very nice baby gift from me," said Snedeker after his three-shot victory at Glen Abbey Golf Club. "I can't thank Kandi (Mahan) enough for going into labor early, otherwise I don't know if I'd be sitting here if she hadn't.
"But that is a way more important thing than a golf tournament. I missed a golf tournament when my first was born and it was the best decision I ever made."
Snedeker, in fact, might well have thought it was his birthday with all the gifts he received at the Canadian Open.
After Mahan walked away from a two-shot lead on Saturday and cleared the way for Snedeker to take over top spot, Dustin Johnson, tied for the lead, triple-bogeyed the 17th on Sunday to gift the FedExCup champion a three-shot victory.
"I've been through this before when Kyle Stanley made a big number on the last hole and some people say he gave me the tournament," said Snedeker. "This is kind of right there with that.
"When Hunter was playing so great, he would have been tough to catch over the last two days but he's not here so there is no point in going down that road."
With his victory, the 32-year-old American joins Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar as the only players with multiple wins season. Since 2011, only Woods, with seven titles, has had more wins than Snedeker with five.
One of the game's best putters, Snedeker started the season as the PGA Tour's hottest player with a win, two runner-up finishes and a third place from five starts to race to the top of the FedExCup standings.
But following his victory at Pebble Beach in February, Snedeker put himself on the sidelines to rest his sore rib cage to be ready for the year's first major.
He missed five weeks and ever since has been working at returning to his dazzling early season form.
"It feels like two completely different years for me," said Snedeker. "First part of the year, I couldn't do anything wrong. I was playing fantastic, and I got injured.
"I feel like I've been fighting to get myself back to the way I was at the beginning of the year.
"I'm not saying I'm there but I'm close to the way I was playing in the beginning of the year.
"It feels great to get a win. To validate all the hard work I've put in over the past three months where I haven't played my best and know that I'm working on the right stuff and able to hold up under some pretty serious pressure this afternoon."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)