Make that two high notes. With the help of a new caddie on the 72nd hole, Hunter Mahan, who has already won twice this season, rolled in a 20-footer for birdie to fire a career-best 61 at the Travelers Championship.
On the 18th tee, Mahan’s regular looper John Wood took off his bib and put it on David Finn, a 19-year-old from River Edge, N.J., who suffers from a mitochondrial disorder that has left his limbs shriveled and his mouth unable to form words. Finn, the “Golf Fanatic to the Bones,” “caddied” for Mahan as Wood pushed him up the fairway in his wheelchair.
“Well, we did it yesterday (had Finn ‘caddie’), but it didn’t quite have the impact since we were one-under and no one was watching us,” said Mahan, who started the day tied for 68th and teed off in the first starting time. “We met him a long, long time ago. Wood has known his family for a while and I got to meet him through Wood.
“(David) is so aware, but he just can’t do the things that he wants to do. His folks do an incredible job of getting him out to so many Tour events and he’s a fun kid. It’s an opportunity you couldn’t pass up.”
David must be good luck. Mahan dropped a 15-footer on No. 7 when David caddied for him on No. 7 on Saturday.
“He went crazy!” exclaimed Wood. “It was really special.”
Since it was such a unique moment, Wood planned a second opportunity for Finn, along with himself and Hunter, in Sunday’s final round. (Of course he cleared the plan with officials before the fact.) This time it was the 18th hole with a great deal of fans watching.
“That’s what’s kind of neat about the PGA Tour,” said Mahan, who birdied nine of his last 13 holes after opening with five straight pars. “We can have the fan interaction and give someone like that really kind of a dream come true.”
Oh, but it gets even better.
“The cool thing was I had this obviously planned out, and it was bonus that H was having a ridiculous round and David there for the last putt,” said Wood. “But another real cool thing was when we got to the ball and I got the yardage, I read H the numbers and I said ’147 total. Sound familiar?’
“He laughed and said, ‘Yeah it does.’”
It was the exact same number they had on 18 in regulation in 2007 when Hunter made birdie to force a playoff and eventually capture his maiden victory on the PGA Tour.
Here’s the video footage: