Despite holding Houston Open lead, Peter Malnati will drop everything if wife goes into labor
Peter Malnati is the 36-hole leader at the 2019 Houston Open. That’s a big deal for a pro with only one career PGA Tour win. Despite that, there’s a good chance Malnati walks off the course and surrenders his lead this weekend.
Even though a second PGA Tour win would be a big deal, Malnati has an even bigger deal to… deal with: the birth of his first child. Malnati’s pregnant wife Alicia is due in two weeks, but she could have the baby at any time. If their baby decides his time has come this weekend, Malnati is prepared to drop everything and head to the hospital to be with his wife.
“I’m fully on call,” Malnati said after his second round. “I didn’t know if I was going to come play here or not. She’s always encouraging me to play and she has all the media officials’ phone numbers, so if someone has to come get me off the course this week, they will. But yeah, she’s due two weeks from tomorrow, but she is beyond ready.”
As he mentioned, Malnati almost didn’t bother playing this week given that the imminent arrival of his baby was weighing on his mind.
“The last couple weeks I’ve let it be a distraction in that I haven’t really prepared the way I normally would because my head’s back home, I want to be home,” Malnati said on Friday.
But then he thought better of it, knowing that he’ll have to take some time off from tournament play once the baby is born.
“This week I was like, dude, this is your last tournament before you become a dad, like do something with it. The best thing you can do for your wife and your kid is to go out and play good.”
And he certainly has done that. The 32-year-old followed up a first-round 69 with a sterling bogey-free round of 65 on Friday. That launched him up the leaderboard into a two-shot lead, putting his second Tour victory clearly in his sights.
That’s not to say that he hasn’t completely put his wife and the pregnancy out of his mind. As with any soon-to-be-father, it’s still the dominant thought in his head, despite his solid play on the course.
“It’s beyond words to say the excitement and I’m 98 percent excited, two percent terrified, all of that is definitely at play right now. My wife’s the best and she’s going to be the best mother, so we’re going to handle things all right back home, it will be all good.”
Malnati will have several hours on Saturday to weigh his options. Due to play being suspended due to rain on Friday, Malnati has to wait until the second round finished before teeing off in the final group Saturday afternoon, that is, if the baby doesn’t decide to come early.
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