When the day ended at Dove Mountain on Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t the defending champion, Hunter Mahan that was holding the beautiful Hagan Trophy at The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships, it was 2012 Players Champion, Matt Kuchar. Kuchar was able to get past the stubborn Mahan, and claim a 2 & 1 victory at the 17 hole.
It wasn’t an easy task. Hunter Mahan had not played from behind since the first round of the 2012 event at the Arizona mountain resort, but Kuchar was able to best Mahan at the fourth hole and end a streak of 169 holes where he(Mahan) had played either AS or ahead in a match. Mahan, who seemed to have spent all of his energy defeating a scrappy Ian Poulter in the semi-finals didn’t come to the finals with his A-Game, and was 3 Dn to the eventual winner by the sixth hole.
Kuchar built a 4 Up lead by the turn, and was able to hang on down the stretch for the win. They traded a few punches late in the round, but Matt Kuchar was able to prevail. The weather conditions during the final round were terrible for a golf tournament, but Matt Kuchar was able to get the job done.
When play resumed for the finals on Sunday afternoon, The temperature was 49 degrees with 20+ mile an hour winds that brought the chill factor down to the low 40’s. The sponsors of this tournament really need to re-think the location. The Dove Mountain Golf Course is located in the Arizona mountains, and is susceptible to weather conditions this time of year. It’s a shame, because it is a great tournament that has a ton of prize money, and both FedEx and Race To Dubai points on the line. It would be nice to have it somewhere that doesn’t have this much winter.
When the semifinals got underway at around 7:30 local time, the temperature was in the thirties, with winds gusting over 20 miles per hour, it would be tough going for the four remaining players. You have to wonder if the early losers were sipping a Mai Tai in their South Florida hotel rooms with a smile on their faces. In the early going, it appeared Jason Day could never get comfortable with the conditions.
The only remaining double digit seed got behind early to Matt Kuchar, and in the conditions, could never catch up. He would fall to The Kuch 4 & 3, and take on Ian Poulter who lost to defending champion, Hunter Mahan by an identical score in the consolation match. Day had played brilliantly throughout the tournament, beating a very good Graeme McDowell in the Quarterfinals, but seemed to be bothered more by the weather than Matt Kuchar. He seemed to have difficulty making his turn with all the extra clothes on, and hit a lot of shots to the right.
Jason Day was able to best Ian Poulter in the consolation match, that teed off ahead of the leaders, and defeating him 1 up in a match that saw arguably, Europe’s best match play, player, lose two matches in a row on the same day.
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