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Matt Kuchar
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The Takeaway

Kuchar wins Mayakoba by 1 shot

by Mo Yoshimoto
Updated On: November 13, 2018, 11:35 am ET

Mayakoba Golf Classic

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

 

 

Playing out of the final threesome, overnight leader Matt Kuchar fashioned a 2-under-par 34-35=69 in Sunday’s final round at El Camaleón Golf Club for a 72-hole aggregate of 22-under 262, good for a one-shot win over runner-up Danny Lee, who shot 65 out of the penultimate group, and three better than 3rd-place finishers J.J. Spaun (66) and playing competitor Richy Werenski (67).

 

The World No. 40, wins at age 40, and tastes victory on the PGA TOUR for the first time in 4 years, 7 months.

 

 

He wins as a pre-tourney 50/1 outright, claims his eighth overall title in 428 events (417 pro), and improves to 3-for-7 when leading/co-leading at the three-quarter pole.

 

The Georgia Tech alum’s last win, as a pre-tourney 16/1 outright, came at the 2014 RBC Heritage 116 starts and 1,667 days ago, where he came from four back with 7-under 64 to win by one over Luke Donald.

 

 

WHAT WE LEARNED: In all probability, either a seasoned veteran on an extended absence from the winner’s circle, or a first-time winner (Patton Kizzire, 2018; John Huh, 2012) is going to take the title in Mexico.

 

 

Examples: Pat Perez (finished T6 this week), won the 2017 edition, also at age 40, ending a 7-year, 10-month victory drought, while Graeme McDowell (CUT) won the 2016 edition (age 36), ending a 2-year, 7-month victory drought. By the way, G-Mac’s last win before that, the 2013 RBC Heritage. Further, Charley Hoffman (CUT) won in 2015 at age 37, ending a 5-year, 2-month victory drought.

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

 

Kuchar: age 40; first win in 4 years, 7 months

Kizzire: 31; first win

Perez: 40; first win in 7 years, 10 months

McDowell: 36; first win in 2 years, 7 months

Hoffman: 37; first win in 5 years, 2 months

 

 

 

“It’s an amazing feeling to win a PGA TOUR event. It’s a hard thing to do… being four years removed from my last victory. I realize how difficult it is to win on the PGA TOUR.” – Matt Kuchar

 

 


 

 

Final Leaderboard (pre-tourney odds outright):

 

 

1- (-22, 262) Matt Kuchar (50/1) *

2- (-21, 263) Danny Lee (80/1)

3- (-19, 265) J.J. Spaun (50/1)

3- (-19, 265) Richy Werenski (125/1)

5- (-18, 266) Brice Garnett (100/1)

 

 

*Kuchar’s 262 is a new tournament scoring record, previously 21-under 263 by: Perez (2017) and Harris English (2014). He also set the 36-hole record (128) and the 54-hole record (193).

 

 

FUN FACT: Kuchar led/co-led after R1, R2 and R3, which is the first time in his 7-stroke play wins that he’s led or co-led in more than one round during the week. His 262 is also his career best 72-hole score, previously 264 at the 2013 Sony and 2008 Shriners.

 

 


 

 

Field Scoring Average:

 

 

This was the 12th playing of the Mayakoba, 12th at El Camaleón GC:

 

 

Scorecard Yardage: 6,987

Par: 71 (36-35)

 

 

Cumulative scoring averages:

 

 

R1: 69.08

R2: 69.09

R3: 69.97

R4: 69.11

 

Total: 69.25

 

 

Kuchar: 64-64-65-69

 

 

*Had there been Strokes Gained stats, Kuchar would have posted a 15.25 SG: Total

 

 


 

 

Kuchar’s Position by Round:

 

 

R1: T1

R2: 1

R3: 1

 

 

FUN FACT: EVERY eventual winner so far this season has been in the Final or Penultimate Group in R3. The last (eventual) winner that WASN’T in the Final or Penultimate Group in R3 was Bryson DeChambeau at the 2018 Dell Tech Championship (10 events ago). He played out of the 13th-to-last twosome in R3 (with Tiger Woods) and shot 63 to move from T21 to T2.

 

 


 

 

Leader/co-leaders by Round:

 

 

R1: Matt Kuchar (Won): 2-for-10 as 18-hole leader/co-leader

R1: Kramer Hickok (T29): 0-for-1

R1: Dominic Bozzelli (T48): 0-for-2

 

R2: Matt Kuchar (Won): 2-for-12 as 36-hole leader/co-leader

 

R3: Matt Kuchar (Won): 3-for-7 as 54-hole leader/co-leader

 

 


 

 

With a Strength of Field rating of 211 (up from 159 last year), Kuchar banks 40 world-ranking points and jumps 11 spots to 29th in the Official World Golf Ranking. This was his first top-10 finish since T9 at the 2018 Open Championship.

 

Form: 1-57-43-60-MC-14-MC-T9

 

 

He also vaults 168 places to 5th in the FedExCup standings.

 

 


 

 

How Kuchar Won on Sunday:

 

 

After kicking off with 64-64-65, the Florida native led by four (over Whee Kim), and after birdies at Nos. 3 and 5 (2-putt version), led by three at the break over Danny Lee.

 

He circled 11, a mid-range left-to-righter from off-the-green with the flat stick, and a shorty at 13, now 24-under and still leading by three.

 

At 14, Kuchar missed the green (from the fairway) and tried to use the flat stick again but failed to get up and down. At the 147-yard par-3 15th, he safely hit the green but then 3-jacked from about 40 feet, clipping the left edge of the cup on his first swish but racing it about six feet by, and then whiffed the come-backer, now leading by two (over Lee and Spaun).

 

Kuchar, who did not have his regular caddie in tow this week and hired a local one, found the fairway at the 485-yard par-4 16th, but was now leading by just one over Lee, who up ahead, circled the 16th for his seventh (and final) birdie of the round.

 

Kuchar would go on to find the green at 16 but left a 10-footer for birdie one rotation short, and would hit the fairway and the green (from 99 yards out) at 17, but went a little deep, missing birdie from about 18 feet.

 

Lee, on the par-4 18th, found the green from 134 yards out, leaving an 18-footer to tie Kuchar on 22-under, but missed wide right. The 28-year-old eventually settled for his third runner-up in 201 events (198 pro), first since T2 at the 2015 TOUR Championship.

 

Kuchar now on the 458-yard finisher, found the right side of the fairway but missed the green from 152 yards out (barely), ending up on the fringe about 35 feet away. Using the putter, he came up short, leaving himself about four feet, but knocked it home and the ball caps came off.

 

In total, the 1997 US Amateur champ hit 11 (of 14) fairways and 13 greens in regulation, posting a pedestrian 1.923 putts per GIR with 30 total putts. He played his final five holes in birdie-less 2-over, but did enough to raise one arm first, then both arms, and subsequently dished out hugs to his two sons and his wife in a long-awaited greenside celebration.

 

“[I] Certainly made it exciting come in. It wasn’t the finish I was hoping for...but glad to get in, glad to get this victory.” – Matt Kuchar

 

 


 

 

This was Kuchar’s fourth Mayakoba, first since T68 in 2016, and his third top 25 and second top 10 (T3/2008). He improves to 2-for-2 on the season, checking in off a T57 at last week's Shriners, where he ranked 5th in SG: Approach (4.710).

 

 

The 4-time Ryder Cupper disappointingly didn’t make the team in Paris this year, failing to qualify for the first time since 2008, but this is a fantastic jump-start towards making his 5th consecutive Presidents Cup team.

 

It will also quickly erase bad memories of a 76th-place finish in the FEC standings last season, which was his third-worst finish in the FEC era, and failed to make it to the TOUR Championship for the first time since 2009.

 

 

 

For the week, Kuchar tallied 26 birdies against just four bogeys, T1 in both of those stats, and ranked 1st in Par-4 Scoring and 3rd in Driving Accuracy. See his full stats at the bottom.

 

 


 

 

Leaders in Selected Stats:

 

 

Birdie or Better Percentage:

 

1. Cameron Champ (38.89)

2. Matt Kuchar (36.11)

2. J.J. Spaun (36.11)

4. Harold Varner III (34.72)

4. Aaron Wise (34.72)

4. Danny Lee (34.72)

 

 

Birdie to Bogey Ratio:

 

1. Matt Kuchar (6.50)

2. Danny Lee (6.25)

3. Richy Werenski (5.75)

4. Brice Garnett (5.50)

5. Pat Perez (4.60)

 

 

Par-4 Scoring:

 

1. Matt Kuchar (3.77)

2. Brice Garnett (3.80)

3. Danny Lee (3.82)

4. Whee Kim (3.84)

4. Pat Perez (3.84)

4. C.T. Pan (3.84)

 

 

Birdies:

 

1. Matt Kuchar (26)

1. Cameron Champ (26)

1. J.J. Spaun (26)

4. Aaron Wise (25)

4. Danny Lee (25)

4. Harold Varner III (25)

 

 

Bogeys:

 

1. Matt Kuchar (4)

1. Danny Lee (4)

1. Richy Werenski (4)

1. Brice Garnett (4)

1. Abraham Ancer (4)

 

 


 

 

Kuchar’s Career:

 

 

Starts: 428 (417 pro)

Cuts Made: 312 (72.8%)

WDs: 2

 

Top 25s: 183 (42.7%)

Top 10s: 99 (23.1%)

Top 3s: 30 (7.0%)

Wins: 8 (1.86%)

 

 

 

8 wins

 

 

2019: Mayakoba (leader by 4)

Shot: 2-under 69

Winning Margin: 1 shot

Career Start: 428

Event Type: FULL FIELD

 

 

2014: RBC Heritage (come from behind, 4-shot deficit)

Shot: 7-under 64

Winning Margin: 1 shot

Career Start: 312

Event Type: FULL FIELD

 

 

2013: the Memorial Tournament (leader by 2)

Shot: 4-under 68

Winning Margin: 2 shots

Career Start: 292

Event Type: FULL FIELD

 

 

2013: WGC-Match Play (6-seed)

Winning Margin: Beat Hunter Mahan 2-and 1

Career Start: 283

Event Type: LIMITED FIELD

 

 

2012: THE PLAYERS (come from behind, 1-shot deficit)

Shot: 2-under 70

Winning Margin: 2 shots

Career Start: 266

Event Type: FULL FIELD

 

 

2010: The Barclays (come from behind, 5-shot deficit)

Shot: 5-under 66

Winning Margin: PLAYOFF

Career Start: 228

Event Type: FEC Playoffs

 

 

2009: Turning Stone Championship (co-leader)

Shot: 3-under 69

Winning Margin: PLAYOFF

Career Start: 205

Event Type: FULL FIELD

 

 

2002: The Honda Classic (come from behind, 3-shot deficit)

Shot: 6-under 66

Winning Margin: 2 shots

Career Start: 28

Event Type: FULL FIELD

 

 

 

Wins by Season:

 

 

2019: 1

2018: 0

2017: 0

2016: 0

2015: 0

2014: 1

2013: 2

2012: 1

2011: 0

2010: 1

2009: 1

 

 

2002: 1 (first-time member, not rookie)

2001: 0 (11 non-member starts)

 

 


 

 

Draw:

 

 

A total of 72 pros from a field of 130 pros and two amateurs made the 36-hole cut of 4-under 138:

 

 

39 (of 66) EARLY/late

33 (of 63) LATE/early; 3 WDs

 

 

14 players finished in the top 10:

 

 

EARLY/late (7):

 

Matt Kuchar (Won); Richy Werenski (T3); Jim Furyk (T6); Harold Varner III (T6); Adam Hadwin (T10); Anirban Lahiri (T10); Aaron Wise (T10)

 

 

LATE/early (7):

 

Danny Lee (2nd); J.J. Spaun (3rd); Brice Garnett (5th); Scott Piercy (T6); Pat Perez (T6); Cameron Champ (T10); Whee Kim (T10)

 

 

 

4

 

 

4 tourneys this season with a traditional draw:

 

 

Winners:

 

 

EARLY/late: 3 (Kuchar) *

 

LATE/early: 1

 

 

*Kuchar is the third straight AM/PM winner on TOUR (DeChambeau/Shriners; Champ/Sanderson Farms) AND, the third straight AM/PM winner of the Mayakoba

 

 


 

 

Low Rounds:

 

 

R1: 64: Matt Kuchar, Kramer Hickok*, Dominic Bozzelli

 

R2: 62: Cameron Champ*

 

R3: 63: Aaron Wise

 

R4: 62: Scott Piercy

 

 

*career lows

 

 

 

Bogey-free Rounds:

 

 

R1: (13): Matt Kuchar (64); Kramer Hickok (64); Dominic Bozzelli (64); Anirban Lahiri (65); Richy Werenski (65); Bud Cauley (65); Adam Hadwin (65); J.T. Poston (65); Danny Lee (65); Matt Jones (65); Joaquin Niemann (66); Chase Wright (67); Anders Albertson (67)

 

R2: (11): Brian Gay (63); Jonas Blixt (63); Jose de Jesus Rodriguez (64); Denny McCarthy (64); Roger Sloan (64); Patton Kizzire (66); Richy Werenski (66); Jhonattan Vegas (66); James Hahn (67); Hudson Swafford (67); Vaughn Taylor (68)

 

R3: (4): Aaron Wise (63); Brice Garnett (65); Vaughn Taylor (65); Whee Kim (66)

 

R4: (6): Scott Piercy (62); Billy Horschel (65); Armando Favela (66); Ryan Armour (66); Kramer Hickok (67); Sung Kang (67)

 

 

Multiple Bogey-free Rounds:

 

Werenski, V. Taylor, Hickok (x2)

 

 


 

 

Odds Favorite(s) Outright:

 

 

Dating to the beginning of the 2016-17 season (148 events), the pre-tourney fave/co-fave has won 10 times.

 

 

Last Season:

 

 

47 (non-team) tournaments

4 pre-tourney fave/co-faves won:

 

 

Dustin Johnson: 11/2 (Canadian Open)

Dustin Johnson: 6/1 (St. Jude)

 

Jon Rahm: 8/1 (CareerBuilder)

Justin Thomas: 15/2 (CJ CUP)

 

 

 

Rickie Fowler: Arriving off five straight top 20s (dating to last season) and three straight top 10s, including a back-door T4 at last week’s Shriners, last year’s runner-up finished T16 on 14-under 270 (66-68-69-67), eight adrift.

 

The pre-tourney 8/1 fave outright totaled 22 birdies versus eight bogeys and while T9 in GIR, was 43rd in Scrambling.

 

 


 

 

Refresher:

 

 

The last 12 winners on TOUR (reverse order): Brandt Snedeker (Wyndham); Bryson DeChambeau (The NT); Bryson DeChambeau (Dell Tech); Keegan Bradley (BMW); Tiger Woods (TOUR Championship); Kevin Tway (Safeway); Marc Leishman (CIMB); Brooks Koepka (CJ CUP); Xander Schauffele (WGC-HSBC); Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms); Bryson DeChambeau (Shriners); Matt Kuchar (Mayakoba)

 

 


 

 

7

 

 

Through 7 events this season:

 

 

4 winners were in their 20s

2 were in their 30s

1 was in their 40s (Kuchar: age 40)

 

 

FUN FACT: Kuchar ends a streak of four straight winners in their 20s.

 

 

 

Last Season:

 

 

20s: 17

30s: 24

40s: 6

 

 


 

 

Kuchar’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 72 players):

 

 

Birdies: 26 (T1)

Bogeys: 4 (T1)

 

Birdie or Better: 36.11% (2nd)

Birdie to Bogey Ratio: 6.50 (T1)

 

 

Par-3 Scoring: 2.75 (T19)

Par-4 Scoring: 3.77 (1st)

Par-5 Scoring: 4.33 (T12)

 

 

Driving Accuracy: 45/56 (3rd) at 80.36%

GIR: 57/72 (T9) at 79.17%

Putts per GIR: 1.702 (41st)

Total Putts: 111 (T21)

Putts by Round: 28-25-28-30

Scrambling: 12/15 (T5) at 80.00%