Matt Kuchar wins at Memorial
Matt Kuchar has won the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio after finishing two shots clear of fellow American Kevin Chappell.
Overnight leader Kuchar, 34, fired a four-under-par final round of 68 for a total of 12-under.
The ever-consistent Matt Jones finished the best of the Australians at 5-under with rounds of 69-72-70-72, two strokes ahead of Adam Scott, who started the final round with a share of 6th position only to finish with a 73 for a tie for 13th at 3-under.
World number one Tiger Woods finished at 8-over after shooting his highest ever 9-hole total of 44 in round three. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy struggled again the entire week and closed the tournament at 6-over.
Leading by two going into the final round, Kuchar – who earlier this year won the WGC Match Play title in Arizona – never looked in danger of losing the championship, which is hosted by Jack Nicklaus in his home town of Dublin, Ohio.
He birdied all four of the par-fives to remain in control and confirmed his win by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-four last.
Kuchar joined world number one, Tiger Woods as the only multiple winners on the PGA Tour this season.
“There are a couple of things I thought of missing from my pedigree, from my golf history now,” Kuchar said later in the press conference.
“A major championship is on the list and a multiple win season was on the list. That’s something that at the beginning of the year when I set goals I wanted to have a multiple win year.”
With the US Open Championship starting June 16 at Merion, Kuchar’s confidence remains an all-time high.
“Heading into Merion, I’ll have a lot of confidence. It’s a course I’ve not seen before, so I’ll have to do some learning.”
Now ranked number four in the world, Kuchar is officially the best player in the game without a major to his credit (Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott are ranked ahead of him).
Yet the pathway to golf’s riches has been anything but easy for Kuchar, who lost his PGA Tour card following the 2005 season.
“It’s just part of the steps I took,” said Kuchar on Sunday.
“I don’t see it as humbling. I didn’t see it as an insult. I love the fact that the game of golf is strictly performance based. I did not perform well enough to keep status on the PGA Tour. All I had to do was play better and I was going to be back out here.”
It was a sobering experience despite having won a PGA Tour event less than three years after leaving college with the 2002 Honda Classic. He then regained his PGA Tour card by finishing 10th on the 2006 Nationwide Tour money list, but it would be seven long years since the Honda Classic before his next victory at Turning Stone.
Since then, Kuchar has become one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour with six PGA Tour wins, six runner-up finishes and fifty-five top-10 results to amass just over US$25 million in prize money.
“Great golf breeds more great golf,” says Kuchar.
“Winning tournaments breeds more winning tournaments. Anytime you can get comfortable playing in that final group, finishing off a tournament, winning a tournament is a huge amount of confidence.”