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Kuchar Wins Players Championship
Matt Kuchar held steady down the stretch to win the Players Championship on Mother's Day. The 33-year-old from Georgia closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 13-under 275 on the Pete Dye-designed TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Kuchar carded two birdies and a bogey on each of the front and back nines. After a birdie on the par-5 16th, he three-putted for a bogey on the island green at the par-3 17th, then parred the last for his fourth victory and the biggest of his career. The win was worth $1.71 million and 600 FedEx Cup points.
"I'm about ready to buckle," he told NBC Sports. "To do it on Mother's Day . . . such an amazing feeling. It really is magical."
Sharing second at 277 were Martin Laird (67), Rickie Fowler (68), Zach Johnson (68) and Ben Curtis (70). No. 2-ranked Luke Donald fired the second-lowest round of the day, a 6-under 66, to finish in solo sixth at 279.
Another stroke back in seventh were Bo Van Pelt (69), Jhonattan Vegas (70) and 54-hole leader, Kevin Na, who shot a 76.
Na, a 28-year-old who was born in South Korea but now lives in Las Vegas, began the day with a one-stroke lead over Kuchar. He posted a birdie on the par-5 second but, after two straight pars, he bogeyed four of the next five holes to make the turn in 3-over 39. Na birdied the par-5 11th, but bogeyed the next two to fall too far behind playing partner Kuchar.
David Toms and Bob Estes carded Sunday's low rounds of 7-under 65. The scorecard for Toms, who ended up T10 with Carl Pettersson (69) at 7-under 281, listed seven birdies, an eagle on the par-4 sixth hole, and two bogeys. Toms' eagle came when his 123-yard approach rolled into the hole.
"This golf course, really, there are plenty of holes, if you can hit the shots, if you can pull it off, if you can play the aggressive shot and happen to pull it off; and that's the way I had to play today," said Toms. "I was so far back, and I was just trying to have a decent finish. So, you know, no reason why I shouldn't shoot at a flag. What's the difference in 44th and 34th? That's the way I was playing out there, and I just happened to play a great round of golf."
Geoff Ogilvy (69), Blake Adams (71) and Jonathan Byrd (72) shared 12th at 282. Estes' 65 moved him up into a tie for 15th at 283 with seven others. He carded eight birdies and a lone bogey Sunday. "My low round here, I don't know what it is, it's probably 68; I can't remember if I shot lower than that before - 67 once," the 46-year-old told reporters later.
"I had a lot of good looks at it. I did make a couple long ones . . . but hit a lot of shots close. The ball was just going in. I was pretty comfortable with the putter and getting them on-line and we were reading them well. Yeah, making them the way you're supposed to."
Phil Mickelson shot a 1-over 73 to end up tied for 25th at 285, while Tiger Woods also had a 73 to finish two strokes further back. Woods, who had earlier rounds of 74, 68 and 72, said he intends to continue working on his game in hopes of returning to the winner's circle soon.
"Just keep working," Woods told reporters. "Keep working. I felt that I did it well in spurts again. Just need to be a little bit more consistent, and as I said earlier in the week, just got to play the par-5s better than I did. That's something I didn't do. I had a lot of irons into the par-5s and didn't take care of them.
"On a day like yesterday, even though it's windy, and a day like today, just about everybody is getting to the par-5s with irons, and got to play those things, at the worst, 3-under par."
Other scores included a 5-over 77 by third-ranked Lee Westwood, who finished T61 at 4-over 292.
So the day belonged to Kuchar, who was greeted after his final putt disappeared by his wife and two young sons. He also gave a big hug to his mother, who lives nearby. He became the first American to win golf's so-called "fifth major" since Phil Mickelson in 2007.
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