04/20 23:08 CDT Kuchar rallies from 4 back to win RBC Heritage
Kuchar rallies from 4 back to win RBC Heritage
AP Sports Writer
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) --- Matt Kuchar saw his well-struck 5-iron on the
18th hole at the RBC Heritage come up way short of the target and settle in a
"Well," he thought as he walked toward the shot, "there are a lot worse places
For Kuchar, there was no better place --- and no better shot in the tournament.
He followed with a stunning hole-out on Harbour Town Golf Link's closing,
lighthouse hole, to overcome a four-shot deficit for a one-stroke victory and
end nearly a month of Sundays where he came close to a title only to lose at
Kuchar shot a 64 to finish at 11-under 273, one stroke ahead of Luke Donald,
who had his third second place and fifth top-three finish here in the past six
Donald's latest chance ended Kuchar's winning shot. He hit it solid, felt it
was a good line and watched it rattle home. "I heard the crowd go crazy,"
Kuchar said. "Then I went crazy."
Kuchar punched the air to celebrate, grabbed his cap and swung it around to the
cheers of the crowd. It was Kuchar's seventh career PGA Tour victory. He earned
$1.044 million and his first trophy since the Memorial last June.
It also followed a stretch of golf were Kuchar was in contention nearly every
He was two shots behind winner Steven Bowditch at the Texas Open on March 30,
then lost a playoff at the Houston Open a week later on Matt Jones' 42-yard
Kuchar was in the mix at Augusta National a week ago, having a share of the
lead on Sunday before a four-putt double bogey at the fourth hole dropped him
Kuchar, at No. 6 in the world the highest-ranked golfer here, could've taken a
break like other top competitors, but hoped the momentum would carry into
"It's awfully sweet to have another chance," Kuchar said.
Kuchar made up the four shots on Donald with seven birdies in his first 10
holes. Then nearly gave away another tournament when he three-putted from less
than eight feet away at the par-3 17th, a bogey that dropped him into a tie for
the top spot --- and set up the dramatic 72nd hole.
"I was in a little bit of shock," Kuchar said. "But I think I did a good job of
shaking things off."
Donald had two holes to catch Kuchar but couldn't do it. He missed a 28-foot
birdie putt at the 17th hole, then saw his try at a chip-in birdie slide past
"Finishing second isn't what I was hoping for," he said. "Disappointed,
obviously, not to have won. Usually a solid 69 on a windy day with a two-shot
lead is enough to get it done on Sundays. It's tough to win out here and hats
off to Matt for a superb round."
Donald was at 10-under 274 after his 69.
Ben Martin, who turned pro in 2010, shot 67 to finish tied for third at 9 under
with John Huh, who shot 68.
Sunday finally brought the sunshine the tournament had lacked all week. Players
got the bonus of easy, softened greens from three days of moisture.
The birdies were flying from the start, and Kuchar took full advantage. He
birdied the first and second holes, then added a third from 20 feet or so at
"When I made that putt, I knew it was going to be a really good day," he said.
That Donald was in the chase again here was no surprise. The steady Englishman,
once No. 1 in the world, says Harbour Town's tight fairways and small greens
are a perfect layout for a player such as him who isn't the longest hitter on
Donald said a gust of wind in his swing led to him driving the ball way left
out of bounds on the sixth hole for a double bogey. He climbed back into the
hunt with birdies on the seventh and ninth, but hooked his drive into the water
left on No. 10 for a bogey.
"It was just a poor swing," he said. "I flipped it."
Donald kept charging, though, and drew within a stroke of Kuchar's lead with
consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes. He could get no closer,
finishing his round with six pars.
Martin, who had missed seven cuts in his past eight tournaments, reached 10
under with back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes.
Martin's run ended when he couldn't squeeze through some pine trees after
driving into the rough at the par-5 15th. His ball struck a tree and scooted
into more trouble across the fairway. He took bogey to drop two shots off the