MATT KUCHAR held his nerve over the punishing TPC Sawgrass final stretch for a two shot win at the 2012 Players Championship today in Florida.
The 33 year old became the first American in five years to win what is regarded as golf’s unofficial fifth major.
Kuchar started a stroke behind Kevin Na, the 54 hole leader despite having excruciating-to-watch issues with his take-away, and closed with a two under 70 to finish at 13-under.
A birdie on the sixteenth gave Kuchar a three shot buffer but he bogeyed the signature 17th par 3 island hole and admitted to having trouble even walking up the 18th because he was so nervous.
“I’m about to buckle, it’s such an amazing feeling,” a beaming Kuchar said. “To do it on Mother’s Day, while staying with Mum and Dad, it’s just magical.”
It was Kuchar’s fourth US PGA Tour victory and as well as the AUD$1.7 million winners cheque collected 600 Fedex Cup points to put him in sixth place in that season long race.
Scotland’s Martin Laird (67) shared second place with Americans Rickie Fowler (70), Zach Johnson (68) and Ben Curtis (68) while Kevin Na followed a growing tournament tradition of the third round leader posting a big Sunday number. That was a 76 that saw him slip to 8-under tied for 7th.
Geoff Ogilvy was the top placed Aussie, peaking on Sunday for the second successive week with his 69 putting him 6-under and tied for 12th.
“I played pretty well all week and this is a stepping stone I guess. I’m hitting the ball really well, I just need to make more putts,” Ogilvy said.
Adam Scott started the tournament well with a 68 and 70 but a 74 on Saturday put him behind the eight-ball. He closed with a 71 to finish a stroke behind Ogilvy at T15.
“I had some good stuff out there but some horrible mistakes also as I was kind of going for it a bit,” Scott said.
“I compounded a few mistakes by not being terribly smart. I played my way almost out of it yesterday and with three doubles in the week it makes it very tough.”
Marc Leishman finished on even in 45th, with Rod Pampling 3-over at T56 and Robert Allenby 4-over tied for 61st.
Tiger Woods had a disappointing tournament, closing with a 73 to finish tied for 40th, but at least made the cut unlike a number of notables including Jason Day and Rory McIlroy.
The US PGA Tour moves to Irving, Texas this week for the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Resort where Keegan Bradley is the defending champion2012 Players Championship Final Results