Mahan WGC victory denies McIlroy top spot

Hunter Mahan secured a 2&1 win over Rory McIIroy to claim the WGC Match Play Championship in Dove Mountain, Arizona.

Mahan had moved 4-up through 10 holes on McIIroy and went on to hold off the US Open champion to deny McIIroy the number one world ranking.

Hunter Mahan Hunter Mahan secured a 2&1 win over Rory McIIroy to claim the WGC Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain, Arizona (Photo: Anthony Powter)

It was Mahan’s second World Golf Championship title after winning the 2010 WGC at Bridgestone and arguably his sweetest match play victory.

“I didn’t realise how difficult it is to win this week because it is six matches and you’re playing against the best players in the world,” said Mahan following his victory.

“I had to beat Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Y.E. Yang, and Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, all tough players, all tough match play players. It feels good because you’re going against the game’s best.”

“I played well from tee‑to‑green, putting to chipping to driving, irons, everything was there,” said Mahan.

In reaching the championship final Mahan defeated Mark Wilson, 2&1, with McIIroy accounting for Lee Westwood, 3&1 in a tough morning encounter which McIIroy admitted was hard to bounce back from.

McIIroy had made seven birdies in a 10-hole stretch to beat Westwood, yet couldn’t muster any magic in the afternoon championship final.

“I knew that was going to be the toughest thing for me today, because I was getting myself up for that semi-final,” said McIIroy.

“I’m not giving any excuses, I tried to claw myself back, but I left myself too much work.”

Mahan becomes the first American to win the Match Play Championship since Tiger Woods in 2008. He is only the sixth player to win multiple WGC titles, joining Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Australian Geoff Ogilvy and Darren Clarke.

John Senden was the best of the Australians after defeating fellow countryman Jason Day 6&5 in the second round before going down 3&2 to Sang Moon Bae in the round of 16.