Kuchar wins Match Play Championship
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Matt Kuchar put Hunter Mahan in a hole and then answered every challenge of his Sunday to win the Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz.
Mahan had gone 169 holes over 11 matches without trailing in this tournament until Kuchar won the fourth hole of their championship match with a par, and the defending champion never caught up. Kuchar took advantage of a series of miscues to build a 4-up lead at the turn, and then held off Mahan.
There was never a dull moment on the back nine. Only two holes were halved, and those were with birdies. The match ended when Mahan went from a tough lie in the bunker to a bush in the desert, and it took him four shots to reach the 17th green. Kuchar wound up winning, 2 and 1, when Mahan removed the stocking cap he used to fight the cold desert air and conceded a short birdie putt.
It was the first World Golf Championship title for Kuchar, and it follows a year in which he won The Players Championship. Kuchar became the second player in three years to win the Match Play Championship without playing the 18th hole.
LPGA — Inbee Park took advantage of overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn’s triple bogey on the last hole to secure a one-stroke victory in the LPGA Thailand in Chonburi.
Jutanugarn blew a two-stroke lead on the 18th when she first had to take a drop and then missed a 3-foot putt to force a playoff. The 17-year-old Thai golfer, who had a hole-in-one earlier in the round — winning a car in the process — was moved to tears as the putt lipped out, while a surprised Park started celebrating in the clubhouse with her caddie.
Park finished with a 67 for a 12-under-par 276, with Jutanugarn a shot back after a 72.
Jutanugarn’s troubles on the last hole started when she landed in a bunker and had had to take a drop for an unplayable lie. She then overshot the green before three-putting for an 8.
‘‘I was really disappointed because I went onto the course hoping to win not for myself but for the whole country,’’ Jutanugarn said.
Yani Tseng shot a final-round 63 to finish another stroke back in joint third with Beatriz Recari (70) and So Yeon Ryu (68).
Web.com — Former Penn State player Kevin Foley won the season-opening Panama Claro Championship in Panama City for his first tour title, birdieing the final hole for an 8-under 272 and a one-stroke victory.
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PGA commissioner Tim Finchem threw a big wrinkle into the plan to outlaw the anchored putting stroke in 2016 when he said the tour opposed the ban because there was not enough evidence to suggest players had an advantage by using a long putter.
‘‘We hold the USGA in highest regard as a key part of the game of golf,’’ Finchem said at the Match Play Championship. ‘‘We don’t attempt to denigrate that position in any way whatsoever. It’s just on this issue, we think if they were to move forward they would be making a mistake.’’