American Matt Kuchar torched Harbour Town for a final round 64, including a chip-in birdie on the 72nd hole, to win the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C., Sunday afternoon. Kuchar posted a winning score of 11-under-par 273 to hold off Englishman Luke Donald by one shot. Americans Ben Martin and John Huh completed the podium alone in third one further shot back
After four consecutive weeks of being in the mix on Sunday, Matt Kuchar finally cashed in for gamers this week with his victory on Hilton Head Island. He actually “Matt Jones’ed” himself on Sunday as he three-jacked from four feet on No. 17 for a bogey before holing his bunker shot on the sand for birdie on the final hole. That two-hole stretch has summed up his last four weeks but his 64 today will be the real story. He busted out with birdies on seven of his first 10 holes to establish a three-shot lead before Luke Donald righted the ship to eventually tie him when Kuchar three-putted No. 17. Kuchar exorcised his demons with the bunker shot on 18 and posted the round of the tournament with 64. Not a bad way to end “the streak”!
Boy, did I screw this up. I removed Kuchar from my lineup on Thursday morning to “save” him for another day. Please take two lessons from this: One, NEVER change your line up last minute. I’ve done this twice now and lost a 60 from Keegan Bradley in Dallas and now a victory, albeit unlikely as 64s on Sundays don’t grow on trees, from Kuchar. Two, Kuchar has proven there is NO POINT in saving starts on players that are WHITE HOT.
I screwed up two ways this week and I want you, the gamer, to learn from it. One, I pulled Kuchar from my lineup because I’m an idiot. Two, I “saved” Kuchar for “down the road” in One-and-Done (OAD). Now, I’m out bonus points in Yahoo! and will have to find another tournament (maybe the NEXT one?) to play him in OAD. Fortunately for gamers, Kuchar plays really well on most tracks.
Kuchar is drafted annually by gamers in season-long games that want stability. Well, for all gamers who were complaining the last three weeks that he couldn’t get it done, SHUT UP. Kuchar is fantasy gold and has been for the last five years. He bangs home top 25 when he enters; he picks off top 10s almost weekly and he’s now won four times since 2012 and three times since February 2013. This was his seventh victory on TOUR.
With his victory, Kuchar collects $1,044,000, 500 FedExCup Points and the lead in the FedExCup standings.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won the 19 of 23 events of 2013-14. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every and now Matt Kuchar have cashed for the red, white and blue. Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have accounted for the other four victories. We’re still waiting for Europe to hit the board. Let’s hope they’re not saving it for the Ryder Cup…
Matt Jones joined Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler and Chesson Hadley as the first-time winners this season with his victory over Kuchar at the SHO. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had six in 23 events so far in 2014. Ben Martin gave it a shot this week but finished just short (T3).
Only 17 of the 38, 54-hole leaders went on to win last year in full-field, stroke play events. I’m always trying to figure out if this is a trend or not. In 2013-14, 11 of 22 leaders have gone on to win on Sunday. Luke Donald began the day with a two-shot lead but finished runner-up AGAIN at Harbour Town.
Graeme McDowell was T23 so only Payne Stewart, DL III and Boo Weekley have defend their title in 46 editions of the RBC Heritage.
Since 1982, only SIX players have won this tournament without playing at Augusta. This just goes to show that guys who play the week after the Masters aren’t “tired” or “emotionally drained”.
Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson remain the only players on TOUR with multiple wins this season.
Young Guns versus Prime Time versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. He has been joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia, Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua, Kevin Stadler (33), at WMPO and Bubba Watson (35), joined them at Riviera. The last three weeks have found first-time winners and they have all been in their 30s. Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30) and Matt Jones (33), all first-timers, won over the last three weeks before Watson chalked up win No. 2 of the season. Matt Kuchar, 35, joins this list this week as he racks up his seventh career win.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) are the twenty-somethings on the board.
The Old Guys were led by Jim Furyk who was right in the action after 66 on Friday but his 71-70 saw him drop to T7. John Senden is lonely as he’s the only 40-something to lift the trophy this season.