Published February 24, 2013
| Sports Network
Marana, AZ – Matt Kuchar never trailed in the final match Sunday en route to a 2 & 1 victory over 2012 champion Hunter Mahan at the World Golf Championship - Accenture Match Play Championship.
Kuchar, who lost to Mahan 6 & 5 in the quarterfinals last year, trailed for just three holes the entire week at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. The win was his first WGC title and his fifth PGA Tour victory in all.
"What an incredible feeling to be standing on top after six matches. I really have to give Hunter a lot of credit," Kuchar said in a TV interview. "He got off to a slow start and I got up pretty quickly, 4-up at the turn. I was thinking I was going to try to do the same that he did to me last year and see if I could do 6 & 5. But Hunter made a great battle, played some great golf coming in."
Mahan was trying to join Tiger Woods as the only two repeat winners at this championship. Mahan was the first champion to reach the following years' final since 2006 winner Geoff Ogilvy made the 2007 finals.
"I didn't play well. You know, making a couple silly bogeys there. Kooch is a good player, he's a solid player. You saw today how he can get up and down and hit good quality shots. He didn't put himself in the desert really at all," Mahan said. "I put myself behind the eight-ball.
"I hit really good putts on seven and eight, and thought I could get one on nine. I really didn't do anything on those holes. I gained some momentum on 10, but it was too little too late."
When Kuchar 2-putted for par on the fourth to go 1-up, that ended Mahan's streak of 169 consecutive holes at this event without trailing in a match.
Kuchar, the reigning Players Champion, got up and down for par and the win at the fifth, and won his third straight hole at the sixth. Mahan 3-putted for bogey at six and conceded Kuchar's short birdie try.
At the eighth, Kuchar chipped to three feet and converted that birdie effort to go 4-up. Mahan fought back around the turn.
Mahan 2-putted for par from long range at No. 10. He followed with a 7-foot birdie putt at 11 to get within 2-down.
Both players missed the par-5 green to the right. Mahan's chip stopped about 22 feet from the hole. Kuchar pitched to three feet. After Mahan missed his birdie, Kuchar kicked his in to regain a 3-up cushion.
At the 14th, Mahan stuffed his approach inside two feet and was conceded his birdie. Kuchar's third shot from a greenside bunker was on line, but stopped three feet shy of the hole.
Mahan 2-putted for par from the fringe at the 16th to get within 1-down. Both players found the same fairway bunker off the tee at No. 17.
Mahan's second shot from a bad lie in the sand came up well short in a small bush. Kuchar stuffed his second shot within three feet. Mahan hacked his ball a few feet, then pitched his fourth to about seven feet.
But he had enough. Mahan remove his hat and conceded Kuchar the birdie putt and the match.
In the consolation match, Jason Day held off 2010 champion Ian Poulter, 1-up.
NOTES: Kuchar earned $1.5 million for the victory ... Americans have won eight straight PGA Tour events this year, and the last 10 dating to last year ... This was the sixth all-American final, but first since 2008, when Tiger Woods beat Stewart Cink ... Kuchar became the sixth player in the events' 15-year history to be ranked outside the top 20 in the world and win this title ... Next week the PGA Tour heads to Florida for the Honda Classic, where world No. 1 Rory McIlroy will defend his title and the European Tour is back in South Africa for a new event, the Tshwane Open.