Kuchar rallies to win at Harbour Town|
Hilton Head Island, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Kuchar holed a bunker shot
for birdie on the 18th to shoot a 7-under 64 on Sunday and come from behind to
win the Heritage.
Kuchar, who won for the seventh time on the PGA Tour, finished at 11-under-par
273 at Harbour Town Golf Links. This was his fourth straight top-5 finish.
"It was an Augusta-like roar. I wish it wasn't that exciting a finish, but I
made it that way on 17. Man it was so thrilling to see that ball disappear,"
said Kuchar of his bunker shot at the last. "I think the last couple weeks
being in contention being that situation (helped). I was in a similar spot in
Houston, I said I'm going to try to hit a good shot and I put it in the
bunker. I knew it was not that bad of a place."
Third-round leader Luke Donald posted a 2-under 69 to end in second place at
minus-10. Donald has five top-3 finishes without a win at this event in the
last six years.
Ben Martin (67) and John Huh (68) shared third place at 9-under-par 275. Scott
Brown (67) and Brian Stuard (68) were two strokes back at minus-7.
Jim Furyk (70) and Brian Harman (69) tied for seventh at 6-under 278.
Kuchar was four shots back at the start of the round, but he got off to a
flying start with birdies on one and two. He rolled in an 18-foot birdie
effort on the fourth, then birdied the sixth from six feet out and was within
one of Donald's lead.
Donald had 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 second. Kuchar sank a 15-footer
for birdie on the eighth to join Donald at minus-9.
Kuchar made it two in a row with a kick-in birdie on the ninth. Donald fell
off the pace at the sixth, where he faltered to a double-bogey. That handed
Kuchar a 4-stroke lead as Kuchar dropped in a 17-foot birdie try on the 10th.
As Kuchar parred six in a row from the 11th, Donald climbed back into
contention. The former world No. 1 converted an 8-foot birdie chance on the
Two holes later, Donald converted an 11-foot birdie effort to move within two
of the lead. The Englishman found water off the tee on the par-4 10th and that
led to a bogey.
Donald erased that mistake with a birdie on the 11th. He stuffed his approach
on the 12th to tap-in range and that birdie got him within one of the lead.
Kuchar dropped his tee shot to four feet on the par-3 17th. That looked like
the clinching shot, but he 3-putted from short range for bogey and that
dropped him into a tie for the lead with Donald.
At the 18th, Kuchar's second shot came up short in a bunker. However, he holed
out for birdie from the sand to regain the lead at 11-under. Kuchar headed to
the locker room to wait and see what Donald would do.
"What a great shot I hit into 17, and I watched Brian Harman's putt break a
little left. I initially saw the putt going right. I got over it and got a
little gust of wind and the putt went left. I tried to play it straight. It
went left though," Kuchar explained.
"Again, the wind was blowing pretty hard on that green and I felt my putter
wobble a little and I missed my comebacker. I wasn't too disappointed to end
in that front greenside bunker on 18. I thought that was a decent leave. I
knew it was a pretty easy up and down. I said to my caddie, 'boy am I about
due to make one of these?' And man it was so cool to disappear in the hole."
Donald had several birdie chances down the stretch, but closed with six
consecutive pars to end one back.
"I'm going to get my tartan jacket one of these days," said Donald of what the
winner gets. "But hats off to Matt, he played a really solid round."
NOTES: Kuchar earned $1.044 million for the victory ... This was the 12th
come-from-behind victory in 22 PGA Tour events this year ... Donald has won
just twice in nine tries when owning at least a share of the 54-hole lead ...
U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick had a perfect round with 18 pars as
he shared 23th at 2-under 282. One of the players he tied with was last year's
winner Graeme McDowell, who shot 1-under 70 in the final round ... The PGA
Tour heads to Louisiana for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where Billy
Horschel won last year.
04/20 19:38:19 ET