SOUTHPORT, England – Matt Kuchar looked shell-shocked.
He had just gone toe-to-toe with Jordan Spieth, shot the same 1-under 69 score on a difficult Sunday at The Open at Royal Birkdale but lost by three shots. Actually, Kuchar didn’t lose the claret jug. Spieth won it.
Still, it hurt just the same.
“It’s hard to explain,” the 39-year-old said, still looking for his first major championship victory. “It’s crushing. It hurts. And it’s an excitement and a thrill to have played well, put up a battle, put up a fight.
“You work so hard to get to this position. And to have a chance to make history and win a championship, you don’t get that many opportunities. And to be this close, to taste it with five holes to go, it’s a hard one to sit back and take.”
Kuchar erased a three-shot deficit at the start of the day by the ninth hole, with the help of Spieth, and actually took a one-shot lead on the 13th hole when Spieth made bogey because of his infamous unplayable situation right of the fairway.
Even though Kuchar made two birdies over the next four holes, Spieth played that same stretch in 5 under par to vault ahead.
“I believe Matt Kuchar will win a major championship and I believe that he’ll do it sometime soon,” Spieth said. “He’s a great champion and he’s such a great person.”
Said Kuchar: “As tough as it is to be this close and finish second, I am sure that it will lead to me continuing to work hard and push me harder to try to finish one place better. I think things like these continue to push people and I know that’s what it will do to me.”