Kuchar wins bronze, outshines fellow Americans


RIO DE JANEIRO – Matt Kuchar did his part for the red, white and blue. The other three Americans? Not so much.

Sure, these Olympics were about more than just what happened on the golf course, nearly everyone agreed. But Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler each had flashes of terrific play, but none could build enough momentum to be near the podium by the end of the week.

“I wish I could bottle this and do it all the time,” Kuchar said after shooting a final-round 63 to finish third and collect the bronze medal. “I can assure you I’ve never been so excited to finish top three in my life. I’ve never felt this sort of pride busting out of my chest before.”

The other three Americans left with pride, but no medal.

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Watson tied for eighth place and was in contention after shooting consecutive 67s in Rounds 2 and 3 but shot a mediocre 1-under 70 on the final day when many of the others were going low. He tied for eighth place.

“When you talk about a sporting event, this is a dream come true,” said Watson, who stayed with Fowler all week in the athlete’s village. “It’s the greatest event I’ve ever been a part of.”

Reed floundered for most of the first three rounds then shot a back-nine 30 on Sunday to shoot 64 and vault up into an 11th-place tie at 6 under par. A third-round 73, when firmly planted inside the top-20 was his biggest setback.

“Overall I would say disappointing,” Reed said. “The first three days was not good golf.

“I don’t know if it’s that I tried to play too aggressive to shoot too low or whether I just put too much pressure on myself. But it just seemed like the first three days … I was pressing so hard to make birdies. You can’t do that.”

Fowler played poorly in the first and fourth rounds, shooting 75 and 74, respectively. A third-round 64 moved him into a tie for 18th place, but the final nine holes on Sunday produced three bogeys and a double bogey. He tied for 37th place.