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Kokrak’s ace part of wild day in Canadian Open

Published: Sun, July 28, 2013 @ 12:07 a.m.

Vindicator staff/wire reports


On a day when the second-round leader withdrew from the tournament and there was a delay for lightning, Jason Kokrak’s hole-in-one seemed to fit right in.

Hunter Mahan gave up the lead in the RBC Canadian Open Saturday when his wife went into labor, and Brandt Snedeker grabbed the top spot a few hours later.

Mahan was 13 under after two rounds when he got a call saying wife Kandi had gone into labor with their first child. The American rushed to the airport for a flight to Dallas.

Snedeker had a 9-under 63 at Glen Abbey Saturday to take the lead at 202, 14-under par, after the rain-delayed third round. There were scattered showers and an 80-minute delay because of lightning.

Kokrak, with the help of the ace on the 197-yard fourth hole, shot a 69 and stands at 209, 7-under par and seven strokes behind Snedeker. Kokrak is tied for 24th

The Warren JFK graduate, who was born in North Bay, Ontario, returned this week to the PGA Tour after three weeks off. He last played in The Greenbrier Classic July 4-7 in West Virginia a week after his best finish of the season thus far, a tie for third in the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

Mahan withdrew before he was scheduled to tee off. Snedeker was on the seventh tee when he realized Mahan’s name was not on the leaderboard.

“I looked at my caddie, and I go, ‘What’s going on?”’ Snedeker said. “He goes, ‘I think Hunter had to leave because (his wife) went into labor.”’

His caddie was right.

“Kind of left the tournament wide open,” Snedeker said. “Hunter was going to be hard to catch because he was playing so good. The way he drives the golf ball on this golf course, he was going to play really well on the weekend. For me to catch him, I knew I was going to have to shoot something really low.”

Snedeker won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February for his fifth PGA Tour victory.

“I know how to handle it and I know what to expect tomorrow especially on a golf course like this,” Snedeker said.

The 2012 FedExCup champion had nine birdies in a bogey-free round.

“You always feel like you’re exactly one swing away from hitting something off the planet or something like that,” Snedeker said. “I felt like I managed my game really well today.”

Mahan released a statement before he left.

“I received exciting news a short time ago that my wife Kandi has gone into labor with our first child,” Mahan said in a statement. “Kandi and I are thrilled about the addition to the Mahan family and we look forward to returning to the RBC Canadian Open in the coming years.”

Sweden’s David Lingmerth was a stroke back after a 65, and Matt Kuchar and Jason Bohn were 12 under. Kuchar had a 64, and Bohn shot 66.

Dustin Johnson also shot 63, good for a tie for fifth at 11-under with John Merrick, Greg Owen, Charley Hoffman and Kyle Stanley.

Merrick, two strokes behind Mahan on Friday after matching the course record with a second-round 62, played alone in the third round after Mahan withdrew.

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