Kuchar ends long drought, Singh, Langer winners in Phoenix
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) — Matt Kuchar ended more than four years without a PGA Tour victory Sunday by closing with a 2-under 69 and holding up through a few nervous moments down the stretch to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Kuchar had a four-shot lead going into the final round. But after making two bogeys over the first 67 holes in the tournament, he made two bogeys in two holes on Nos. 14 and 15, and his lead shrunk to one shot when Danny Lee made a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the 16th hole.
Lee finished with two pars for a 65.
Kuchar still wasn’t entirely in the clear. His 15-foot birdie attempt rolled about 3½ feet by the hole on No. 17 and he had to make that for par. And on the 18th, he left his 30-foot birdie putt about 3 feet short and had to roll that in to win by one shot.
“I didn’t want a 3-footer on the last hole,” Kuchar said. “I was hoping to have a three or four-shot lead for some wiggle room. But man, that felt awfully good.”
The 40-year-old Kuchar had gone 115 starts on the PGA Tour since his last victory in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head in April 2014. It comes at the end of what had been a disappointing year in which Kuchar finished out of the top 70 on the PGA Tour money list for the first time since 2007, and he failed to make the Ryder Cup team for the first time in 10 years.
“My 2018 wasn’t what I wanted,” Kuchar said. “This is a high note. It’s amazing thing to get a win. I go from ‘Hola’ to ‘Aloha.’ I’m pretty excited about that.”
Kuchar qualifies for the Sentry Tournament of Champions to start next year at Kapalua.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
PHOENIX (AP) — Vijay Singh rallied from six shots behind with his career-best round on the PGA Tour Champions, a 10-under 61 that gave him a four-shot victory in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and gave Bernhard Langer the season title and $1 million annuity.
Langer won the Schwab Cup for the fifth time, and fourth time in the last five years.
“At age 61 to do it is quite an achievement,” Langer said, holding a glass of red wine on the balcony at Phoenix Country Club. “Maybe there’s another in me.”
Scott McCarron was in position to capture the Schwab Cup for the first time, needing only to win the final tournament of the season provided Langer didn’t make a big run and finish among the top three. Langer tied for 13th.
McCarron, however, faded badly. He hit a tee shot out-of-bounds on No. 3 to make double bogey and was never under par at any point in the final round. Needing a big finish, McCarron hit over the green into a corporate grandstand behind the 17th hole and made another double bogey.
He closed with a 72 and tied for third.
The charge came from Singh, who was holing putts from everywhere and lost track of his score until it was time to sign his card. His 61 was his lowest score by two shots on the 50-and-older circuit.
“I really didn’t think I had any chance,” Singh said.
SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) — Lee Westwood came from behind to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Sunday, overturning a three-shot deficit at the start of the final round to deny Sergio Garcia a wire-to-wire victory and Louis Oosthuizen success at his home tournament.
Westwood closed with an 8-under 64 at Gary Player Country Club to take him to 15 under and a three-shot win over Garcia (70). Oosthuizen (69) was third on 11 under.
It was Westwood’s third Nedbank title following back-to-back wins in 2010-11, before the event was part of the European Tour.
He held back tears after sealing his 24th European Tour title and first in more than four years.
“I’m a bit emotional, to be honest,” Westwood said. “You’re never sure whether you’re going to be able to do it again. Until now my emotions have felt really under control all day, which is what I’ve been working hard on.”
Westwood made birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to settle what a fascinating final-round battle between him, Garcia and Oosthuizen.
The Nedbank Challenge also had repercussions for the Race to Dubai, with Rory McIlroy, Li Haotong and Lucas Bjerregaard eliminated going into the season-ending DP World Tour Championship next week in Dubai.
It now comes down to Francesco Molinari, who has a healthy lead over Tommy Fleetwood.
HAINAN ISLAND, China (AP) — Gaby Lopez won the Blue Bay LPGA on Sunday for her first career title, closing with a 1-over 73 for a one-shot victory over Ariya Jutanugarn.
The LPGA Tour’s first Mexican winner since Lorena Ochoa, Lopez bogeyed the last two holes at the Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club to finish at 8-under 280.
Playing in a group with Lopez, No. 1-ranked Jutanugarn birdied the final hole for a 73.
Celine Boutier was two shots back after a 66.
Tatsunori Nukaga closed with a 4-under 66 to win the rain-shortened Visa Taiheiyo Masters by two shots over Seung-Hyuk Kim on the Japan Golf Tour. Hideki Matsuyama, playing his home circuit for the first time this year, tied for 46th. ... Jake McLeod picked up his first professional title by closing with a 1-under 71 for a two-shot victory in the New South Wales Open on the PGA Tour of Australasia. ... Clordomiro Carranza close with a 3-under 69 to win the Argentina Classic by three shots over Andres Gallegos on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. ... Jung Hwan Lee closed with a 1-under 69 for a one-shot victory in the KPGA Tour Championship on the Korean Tour. ... Min-ji Park closed with an even-par 72 and defeated You-Na Park in a sudden-death playoff to win the ADT CAPS Championship on the Korean LPGA Tour. ... Ah-reum Hwang shot 3-under 69 for a one-shot victory in the Itoen Ladies Golf Tournament on the Japan LPGA.