Matt Kuchar makes Memorial second PGA victory of year
Matt Kuchar celebrates with his son, Cameron, and his wife Sybi after winning the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio Sunday. (REUTERS/Matt Sullivan)
Leading by two going into the final round at Muirfield Village Golf Club, the 34-year-old Kuchar was never caught as he fired a four-under-par 68 in the high-profile event hosted by Jack Nicklaus.
Kuchar, however, reigned supreme on perhaps the easiest day for scoring in easing winds after a challenging week at Muirfield Village where strong gusts and lightning-fast greens had posed all sorts of problems for the players.
“This is such an amazing feeling,” said Kuchar, who will rise to a career-high fourth in the world rankings today. “This never gets old.”
However, he succumbed to the lurking danger on the slick greens when he recorded a three-putt bogey at the par-three fourth, missing a three-footer to slip back to eight under.
Scott Stallings, who had reeled off five consecutive birdies from the fourth, briefly closed to within a stroke of the lead when he sank a seven-foot birdie putt at the par-four 10th.
Kuchar countered with two-putt birdies at the par-five fifth and the par-five seventh to regain a three-shot cushion before reaching the turn in two-under 34.
At that point, he was one ahead of Stanley, who had birdied the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth.
Kuchar benefited from a two-shot swing at the par-five 11th where he rolled in a 14-footer for birdie to lead by three after Stanley, who ended up under the lip of a fairway bunker off the tee, bogeyed the hole.
With none of his closest challengers applying any sustained pressure, Kuchar increased his advantage to four with another two-putt birdie at the par-five 15th.
Kuchar bogeyed the par-three 16th after his tee shot ran through the fringe into tangly grass from where his chip ended 14 feet beyond the hole and his lead was cut to two when Chappell sank a 20-footer to birdie the 17th.
Though Chappell struck a superb approach to just two feet at the last to set up his fourth birdie of the round, Kuchar matched him when he stunningly sank his attempt from 20 feet.
Woods, who began the day 16 strokes off the pace after struggling with his putting over the first three rounds, came badly unstuck with a triple-bogey at the par-three 12th, his third hole of the day.
“It wasn’t like it was that far off today,” Woods said after finishing at wight over 296. “It was just one hole that cost me obviously a few shots.
“It happens. It happens to us all. I go home next week and practise. It’s just one of those weeks. It happens. This week I obviously didn’t putt well. I had some funky stances.”