After six hard-fought rounds of golf, Matt Kuchar is the winner of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, defeating Hunter Mahan 2 and 1 to take the championship.
The match came down to the second-to-last hole, where Mahan conceded the hole and the championship to Kuchar in what had been a thrilling match.
Kuchar has had a tough road to success. Despite being on the scene for over a decade, he never finished in the top 10 at a major until 2010. Since then, he has become a legitimate star, as shown by his brilliant performance in this prestigious event.
The Golf Channel's Jason Sobel concisely summarizes Kuchar's path to stardom, tweeting:
Matt Kuchar wins Match Play title. From celebrated amateur to PGA Tour winner to Q-Schooler to journeyman to elite player. Quite a ride.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) February 24, 2013
The day started with Kuchar and Mahan winning their semifinals matches against Jason Day and Ian Poulter, respectively.
In Kuchar's win over Day, the Australian actually took a one-hole lead early, but Kuchar took four holes out of six to close out the front nine. Day could not recover, as Kuchar won the match 4 and 3.
Mahan defeated Poulter in similar commanding fashion, also winning 4 and 3. At no point did Mahan surrender a lead; rather, he gradually expanded his lead throughout the round.
Day and Poulter proceeded to play for a third-place finish. Poulter opened up by going 2-up on Day, who then won five of the next 11 holes. Poulter tried to storm back, winning two of the final four, but Day prevailed in the end, winning 1-up for third place.
The real story of the day was Kuchar's match versus the defending champion Mahan. The two split the first three holes, going stroke for stroke early. Kuchar then caught fire, winning four of the next five.
Mahan was not to be counted out, though, as he took back three of those holes over the next seven. In a thrilling match, the championship would come down to the final two holes.
When Mahan conceded the 17th hole, though, the match and the championship went to the deserving Kuchar. The win is his first of the season.
Mahan's chip-in from 70 feet out helped give him a commanding lead over Poulter in the semifinals. Poulter could not bounce back.
Mahan's 354-yard drive on the seventh hole was one of the highlights of the final round. He split the hole with Kuchar.