Kuchar wins Match Play title

Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:53pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

MARANA, Arizona (Reuters) - Matt Kuchar derailed Hunter Mahan's bid to win back-to-back titles at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship with a 2&1 victory over his fellow American in the final on a wind-buffeted Sunday.

Four up after nine holes on a chilly, sun-splashed afternoon at Dove Mountain, Kuchar fended off a Mahan resurgence after the turn before sealing the win at the par-four 17th where his opponent took four shots to reach the green.

It was Kuchar's fifth triumph on the PGA Tour and his first success in one of the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) events which bring together the game's leading players.

Defending champion Mahan, who had not trailed in any of his five previous matches this week, never recovered after going three down with a run of four consecutive bogeys from the par-three third.

"I'm not sure I can explain how excited I am to have won this tournament," the 34-year-old Kuchar told reporters, grinning broadly as he sat next to the cherished Walter Hagen Cup after earning the winner's cheque for $1.5 million.

"To come out on top after six matches of playing guys, the top 64 guys in the world, it's an incredible feeling.

"A lot of credit goes to Hunter for staying and fighting the way he did. That four-down deficit had to be tough for him at the turn where things could have easily gone quickly ... he really started playing some good golf."

Both players wore balaclavas as temperatures dropped to the mid-40s (F) with a wind chill factor of 37 and Mahan faltered early, bogeying the par-four fourth after failing to reach the green in two and hitting a poor chip 20 feet short.   Continued...

Matt Kuchar (R) of the U.S. tees off on the 16th hole as Hunter Mahan of the U.S. watches in the background during the championship match of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship golf tournament in Marana, Arizona February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan