Kuchar Wins Match Play Title

Matt Kuchar dethroned defending champion Hunter Mahan in the 18-hole championship finale to win the WGC- Match Play Championship at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain near Tucson, Ariz. The victory, Kuchar's first in a World Golf Championships' event, was worth $1.4 million.

In the first all-American finale in five years, Kuchar edged Mahan 2 and 1. Kuchar built a 4-up lead through the front nine, but Mahan made a run, getting the match to 1-down at the 16th hole with a bogey on a windy, cold day in the Arizona desert.

On the par-4 17th, both players put their drives into a fairway bunker. Hitting first, Mahan pushed his approach into a bush in the rough. Kuchar then struck a splendid sand shot to two feet for a virtual birdie. From a terrible lie, Mahan barely advanced the ball with his third and conceded the hole and the match.

"What an incredible feeling to stand on top after six matches," Kuchar said at greenside. "Hunter made a great battle to make it close."

In the consolation match, Jason Day beat Ian Poulter by a 1-up margin. Day earned $615,000 for finishing third after beating the steely Poulter, a match-play master whose overall record in the event is now 22-11. The Englishman won the tournament in 2010.

The Kuchar-Mahan championship match was determined Sunday morning in the two 18-hole semifinals.

In one semifinal, Mahan beat the battle-tested Poulter 4 and 3. Mahan birdied the par-5 second hole to take a 1-up lead. The match got back to all-square after a Mahan bogey at the fourth, but a bogey on the next by the Englishman gave Mahan a lead he never relinquished.

Mahan knew who he was facing Sunday morning, as Poulter spearheaded the European team to their 2012 Ryder Cup victory at Medinah.

"I'll tell you what, it's easy to get up for Ian because he's so good in match play," Mahan told PGATour.com. "He's such a competitor. He's never going to be out of a hole. He's always going to find a way. Today I played really well, got up and down from a lot of tough spots, and my short game definitely carried me today."

Poulter told PGATour.com he was "personally disappointed" with the loss to Mahan. "I think I would like the outcome to have been slightly different, but Hunter played very solid today. He chipped it unbelievably well when he had to, and I think there was a key turn around 11 or 12.

"I had a putt there to win the hole on 11 from about eight feet and I missed it, and then he hit the wrong club on 12, gone flying through the back of the green. I put it in position on the back of the green, he chipped in."

Kuchar advanced to the championship match off a 4 and 3 win of his own over Day, a native of Australia who now lives in Ohio. With a birdie on the par-3 sixth hole, Kuchar steamed ahead, thanks to some sloppy play by Day in the blustery conditions.

Kuchar was happy to get by Day and get the chance for his first WGC title. "This has been a lot of golf, and it's fun to continue to survive," Kuchar told PGATour.com. "So excited to make the championship match, won five matches now, but it's a thrill. To have a chance to win the title here at the Accenture Match Play is pretty exciting."

Despite the loss in the semifinal, Day was pleased with his play this week said he was looking for one more match, this one against the vaunted Poulter. "I think the whole week in itself is a positive week for myself," Day said. "I played good golf against great golfers, and I've got one more match to go against probably one of the most feared match play players."

As for his victory over Poulter, Day later told PGATour.com, "I won three holes straight, and we were kind of laughing and giggling out there for the first nine, and once we turned the corner on 10, everything got real serious," Day noted. "He obviously made a couple of good clutch pars on 16 and 17."

For complete scoring details, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/accenture-match-play-championship/leaderboard.html.