Matt Kuchar capped an excellent weekend with a 2 & 1 win over Hunter Mahan in the WGC Match Play Championship in Arizona on Sunday.
Mahan was aiming to win back-to-back WGC Match Play titles but was unable to overturn a four-hole deficit after just nine holes, his resurgence resulting in capitulation on the decisive 17th.
Mahan was left to rue a terrible start that saw him bogey three of the first six holes. Kuchar continued to capitalise on Mahan’s mistakes and birdied the par-five eight to extend his lead to four up.
However, Mahan did very well to cut the lead to just two up, following a par on the 10th and birdie on the 11th. Kuchar regained a three up advantage following a wonderful pitch-and-putt on the par-five 13th. Mahan responded immediately and sank a birdie on the 14th to reduce the gap to just two up once more.
Mahan can count himself a little unlucky that the gap was not reduced even further on the par-four 15th, as Kuchar matched his birdie with a wonderful eleven-footer. The prospect of a grandstand finish seemed to play on the nervous Kuchar’s mind and that is exactly what occured. Kuchar shanked his tee shot and it landed in the Dove Mountain grandstand, giving Mahan a glimmer of hope and reducing the gap to just one-up.
However, Mahan found the bushes on the 17th and had no choice but to concede the hole, and match, after Kuchar’s approach stopped within five feet of the pin. The victory gave Kuchar his fifth triumph on the PGA tour and a cheque for $1.5 million dollars.
“I’m not sure I can explain how excited I am to have won this tournament,”Kuchar told reporters. “To come out on top after six matches of playing guys, the top 64 guys in the world, it’s an incredible feeling.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s Ian Poulter lost to Australia’s Jason Day (one up) in the consolation match to finish in fourth place. Day beat Ireland’s Graeme McDowell in the quarter-final.