Steady Kuchar holds off Mahan to win Match Play

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2013, 11:15 pm

Through a freak snowstorm, biting cold and whipping wind, Matt Kuchar’s game was as steady as ever.

And on a blustery Sunday at Dove Mountain, fairways and greens – and a bunch of pars – proved to be the winning formula during the finals of the Match Play Championship.

Holding off a late rally by Hunter Mahan, Kuchar plodded along on a day when the temperatures hovered around 50 degrees and the wind blew as hard as it had all week, winning his first career World Golf Championships event, 2 and 1, in the scheduled 18-hole final.

WGC-Accenture Match Play scoring

WGC-Accenture Match Play printable bracket

WGC-Accenture Match Play: Articles, videos and photos

“To be so precise in this much wind was so difficult,” said Kuchar, who earned his fifth career PGA Tour title. “What we battled through was awfully difficult out there.”

Mahan, the defending champion, had been dominant all week at Dove Mountain. But on Sunday afternoon, he bogeyed the fourth hole to snap a streak of 169 consecutive holes without trailing, lost another hole on No. 5, and then dropped his third straight with a three-putt at the sixth. Kuchar also won No. 8 to move to 4 up. (By comparison, Mahan had lost only seven holes through the first 76 holes.)

Mahan won his first hole, the 10th, with a par, then cut his deficit to two holes with a birdie at the 11th. On the par-5 13th, Kuchar got up-and-down from short of the green to extend his advantage to three holes. Mahan won No. 14 to go 2 down, then watched as Kuchar airmailed the green on the par-3 16th and left there only 1 ahead.

Mahan’s tee shot on 17 drew a bad lie in the fairway bunker, and his second shot came to rest in the desert, in a cactus bush, short of the green. Playing from the same bunker, but with a better lie, Kuchar stiffed his approach to 3 feet to win the match, 2 and 1.

“Absolutely every facet of your game was tested today,” Mahan said. “Kuch, I think he deserved to win because he did a better job in every facet than I did.”

With the victory, Kuchar, who improved to 15-3 in this event, is expected to move from No. 23 to No. 8 in the world ranking – his highest position since last June.

In the consolation match, Jason Day won three consecutive holes on the front side to take the lead against Ian Poulter. The Australian then tacked on wins at Nos. 12 and 14 and held on for a 1-up victory. 

Getty Images

Koepka primed for CJ Cup win and world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 6:00 am

Brooks Koepka wants a 2-for-1 at the CJ Cup. If he can collect his second non-major PGA Tour victory he can become world No. 1 for the first time in his career.

He’s in great position to accomplish his goal.

Koepka eagled the par-5 18th en route to a 7-under 65 in the second round at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea. At 8 under par, he is one back of 36-hole leader Scott Piercy (65).

Koepka, currently ranked third in the world, began the day three shots off the lead, but rapidly ascended the leaderboard. He birdied four of his first eight holes before finding trouble at the ninth. Koepka hooked his tee shot out of bounds, but the ninth is a par 5 and he was able to salvage bogey.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Current Official World Golf Ranking

That was his only dropped shot of the day.

The reigning Tour Player of the Year birdied the 12th and 14th holes in his bid to keep pace with Piercy. Koepka was two back as he played his final hole, where he knocked his second shot to 10 feet. He deftly converted the eagle effort to tie Piercy and earn a spot in Saturday’s final twosome. Piercy later pulled a shot ahead with a birdie at the ninth, his final hole of the day.

Koepka has officially won four PGA Tour events, but three of those are majors (2017, ’18 U.S. Open; 2018 PGA). His lone non-major win was the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

He can still reach world No. 1 with a solo second place, assuming Justin Thomas, currently world No. 4, doesn’t win this week.

That will take a mighty weekend effort by the defending champ.

Thomas also eagled the 18th hole to go from 1 over to 1 under. He shot 2-under 70 in the second round and is seven shots off the lead.

Getty Images

'Go in'? Yes, JT wants an ace at the par-4 14th

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 5:11 am

Justin Thomas didn’t hesitate after hitting his tee shot on the 353-yard, par-4 14th in Round 2 of the CJ Cup.

“Go in,” he immediately said.

“Please go in,” he added.

Thomas’ tee shot was on a great line, but it landed just short of the green. Surprisingly, it took three more shots for his ball to "go in." After birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, Thomas parred the 14th.

Getty Images

Watch: Dufner makes six (!) fist pumps after birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 4:53 am

Jason Dufner makes Ben Stein seem like Jonathan Winters. Dufner often looks mighty miserable for someone who plays golf for a living.

But not on Friday at the CJ Cup!

Dufner made a 20-footer for birdie at the 16th hole and “celebrated” with one-two-three-(pause)-four-five-six fist pumps. There could have been more, but the camera cut away.

That was Dufner’s third birdie on the back nine, which offset a triple bogey at the par-3 seventh, en route to an even-par 72. Good times.

Getty Images

Watch: Paul C-ace-y makes hole-in-one at CJ Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 2:35 am

Par-par-par-par-par-par. It was a boring second round over the first six holes for Paul Casey at the CJ Cup.

And then he aced the par-3 seventh.

Casey's tee shot from 176 tracked straight towards the hole and rolled in near the final revolution. That got him to 2 under par for the tournament. He was five off the lead, held by Chez Reavie, but bogeyed the ninth and 10th holes to give back those two strokes.

Hey, it's a no-cut event and a guaranteed paycheck. Drinks on Casey!