The perfect competition as Matt Kucher wins at Sawgrass
American Matt Kuchar kept his nerve on a thrilling final day to win the Players Championship at Sawgrass by a couple of shots.
The 33-year-old, who started the final round one stroke behind leader Kevin Na, bogeyed the opening hole but recovered well, hitting four birdies to finish the tournament on 13 under – two clear of Scotland’s Martin Laird and the American trio of Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson and Ben Curtis.
Kuchar tore the business end to pieces, carding six birdies, equalling the back nine record of 30 at the Players Championship. The win yesterday propelled the American to third in the US Ryder Cup standings.
Na, who had birdied the last to take a single shot lead into Sunday, struggled with his recent swing changes and also couldn’t get his putter to light up the greens. He successfully boarded the bogey express, dropping four shots in five holes, effectively ending his challenge. He eventually ended up with an eight under total, five behind the winner.
Martin Laird looked like making a serious challenge: going out in 33, he then went into the joint lead with Kuchar, thanks to three birdies on the spin early in the back nine. But costly errors at 14, 16 and 18 left the Glaswegian two shots behind.
Luke Donald and Lee Westwood both had opportunities to finish the week as world number one following McIlroy’s missed cut – Donald needed a top-four finish but only managed to finish sixth, whereas Westwood needed to win, but never looked like a possibility from the moment he pegged it up on Thursday.
Westwood finished four over in 60th place, while another miserable week for Tiger Woods ended with him finishing on one under, finishing outside the top 30 for the third event on the bounce.
Ian Poulter (the Joey Barton of the golfing world) crumbled after his opening 65, leaving him on three under for the tournament and in 25th place. Perhaps he should spend more time on the practice range and less time on Twitter, posting comments regarding his greatness.