Matt Kuchar wins the Memorial
Matt Kuchar entered Sunday’s final round at the Memorial with the lead and despite charges from a few players, he was able to hang on for a two shot victory.
Kuchar entered the day leading at 8-under par, and thanks to the difficult weather that was present throughout much of the week, he was paired up with his two closest competitors in Kevin Chappell and Kyle Stanley, both of whom sat two shots behind. Chappell, Stanley and Scott Stallings made charges at various points throughout the day, but Kuchar never lost the lead, thanks to a superb day of driving the golf ball. Kuchar hit 13 of 14 fairways, and just seemed to be playing smart and tactical golf, the kind that Kuchar needs to play to win events against players who have more distance and creativity.
Last week, Kuchar carried the lead into Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Invitational but couldn’t hang on when Boo Weekley grabbed his first win in five years. Kuchar couldn’t keep the ball in play last week, missing everything on the left side, which killed him on Sunday. There was none of that this week, as Kuchar fired a final round 68, which was bested only by Stallings and James Driscoll, who each shot 67.
- 1. Matt Kuchar -12
- 2. Kevin Chappell -10
- 3. Kyle Stanley -7
- T4. Scott Stallings -6
- T4. Bill Haas -6
- T57. Rory McIlroy +6
- T65. Tiger Woods +8
What The Win Means For Kuchar
The win for Kuchar means that he’s won just about everything that you can, with the exception of a major. He’s won the smaller PGA Tour events, he’s got three big non-majors in the Barclays, the PLAYERS and the Memorial, and he has a WGC win after capturing the Match Play earlier this year. With six wins on the PGA Tour and nine as a professional, Kuchar’s next step is to win a major, and with the USGA deciding to go back to Merion this year, a course that sets up well for Kuchar’s game, there will be many pegging Kuchar as one of the favourites.
Coming into the week, Kuchar was ranked ninth in the Official World Golf Rankings, but the win here will move him into fifth place, behind only Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Justin Rose. Kuchar also earned $1.116 million for the victory, and it moves him into second place behind Woods in the race for the FedEx Cup.
Even if you didn’t think he was going to win this week, the performance of Tiger Woods, namely in Saturday’s third round, was definitely the surprise of the week. You can look at a number of stats to try and pinpoint what went wrong, but his 44 on the back nine (teed off on 10), is the highest nine hole score of his career. His final score of 79 was topped only by his memorable 81 in the third round of the 2002 Open Championship. It’s not that it’s impossible for Woods to have a bad tournament, but at Muirfield Village where he’s won five times?
To those who are wondering what it means for Merion in a couple of weeks, don’t read too much into it. This is still a guy who has already won four events on the PGA Tour this season. Sometimes this happens, even to players like Tiger Woods. Luke Donald may have summed it up best in a tweet on Saturday night:
— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) June 2, 2013
Hey, sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned it, especially in golf. Woods came back and shot an even par round of 72 today. And before anyone asks, no, you shouldn’t be worried about Woods or McIlroy right now.
K.J. Choi’s new clubs
We all know how good professional golfers are, but perhaps no story illustrates that point any better than what K.J. Choi did this week. Choi hasn’t been feeling comfortable on the course, so before he teed it up this week at the Memorial, he took a trip to the local Golf Galaxy in Columbus and tested out some Mizuno MP-64’s. He liked them enough to buy them on the spot, and he put them in the bag this week. Not only did he fire an opening round of even par, he navigated the course and the weather to end up tied for 21st at 1-under par. Mizuno man Luke Donald clearly approved:
— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) May 30, 2013
- Notables to miss the cut: John Huh, Chris Kirk, Dustin Johnson, Kevin Streelman, D.A. Points, Webb Simpson, Guan Tianlang, Brandt Snedeker, Nicolas Colsaerts, Branden Grace, Geoff Ogilvy, Jeff Overton, Sang-moon Bae and Nick Watney.
- Both Lee Westwood and Johnson Wagner withdrew from the event on Friday night, as opposed to going back out on Saturday morning to complete their second rounds. Both were going to miss the cut anyway, so I get why they wouldn’t want to finish out, but I can’t imagine that the PGA Tour is too impressed.
- On the other end, Seung-yul Noh apparently intended to WD but instead got hit with a DQ after walking off the course and not telling anyone.
- Apparently Kyle Stanley has sought putting help from Arron Oberholser. Not quite Woods and Stricker, but something must have worked this week. Stanley has quietly posted top-10 finishes in three of his last five events.
- Mikko Ilonen picked up his third career European Tour win this morning in Sweden, with a three shot victory over Jonas Blixt at the Nordea Masters. Matteo Manassero followed up his win at the BMW PGA with a tie for fourth.
- Inexplicably, no video seems to exist of Andrew Dodt’s holes-in-one at the Nordea.
- Despite the weather, Jack Nicklaus and crew kept the course looking great and it was playing pretty difficult too. It’s going to be a great venue in a couple of months for the President’s Cup.