LA QUINTA, Calif. — Provided Hayden Springer’s life in recent months, the strains of a lipped-out putt, funky chip or askew drive undoubtedly have taken on a different context.
Just two months ago, on Nov. 13, the 27-year-old Nashville, Tenn., native and his wife, Emma, lost their 3-year-old daughter Sage to Trisomy 18 (also known as Edwards Syndrome). It’s a genetic disorder in which babies are born with three copies of chromosome 18 instead of two.
A mere five weeks after the tragic passing, Springer earned his PGA Tour card by virtue of tying for a fourth-place finish at Q-School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The feat came just two-plus months after the well-traveled Springer captured PGA Tour Canada’s season-long Fortinet Cup and that tour’s Player of the Year honors.
In Thursday’s opening round of the American Express in La Quinta, in just his fourth career Tour event, Springer showed no drop-off from his freight train close of 2023, shooting an 8-under 64 on the Pete Dye’s PGA West Stadium Course. His lone bogey came on the final hole, preceded by seven birdies and a chip-in eagle on the par-5 eighth.
“I’m very happy with the 64, and the 29 on the front. I couldn’t have asked for more than that hot start,” Springer said. “It’s been exciting, just trying to get ready for this start. This is what I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. And being a Tour member now, I know I’ve got the full season to make the most of, to learn and grow.”
With Tour success in both his present and foreground, Springer acknowledged he and his family, which includes 1-year-old daughter Annie, continue to deal daily with their loss.
“I think we’re good, but, I mean, there are moments that are harder than others,” Springer said of Sage’s passing. “The community around us – our friends, family, our parents – have supported us so well these past few months.
“It’s been challenging and tough, but just trying to keep moving forward, keep living life as much as we can,” he said. “We know that Sage would want that for us. There’s a missing piece. There’s always going to be a missing piece, but, overall, we’re just trying to love on each other and be around each other as much as we can.”
On the golf course, the memory of his daughter is a part of each round for Springer.
“I’ve had my wedges stamped with her name; just a fun thing to remember her, with a…