It got way more nervy than he may have hoped for, but that won’t matter when Matt Kuchar looks back on his final round of the 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic, which ended with him holing the winning putt. The victory is the eighth of his career, and it snaps a near five-year US PGA Tour win drought, his last victory coming at the 2014 RBC Heritage (he did win the 2015 Fiji International on the PGA Tour of Australasia).
“I certainly didn’t want a three-footer on the last hole to win this thing,” said Kuchar, who entered the final round with a four-shot lead but won by only one stroke over our Danny Lee. “I was hoping to have a three, four-shot lead and some wiggle room, but man, that one felt awfully good.”
The veteran played a squeaky clean round for 13 holes, getting to 24-under for the tournament thanks to four birdies and no bogeys. But back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes at El Camaleon Golf Club opened the door for chasers like Lee and J.J. Spaun. Kuchar hung on for dear life down the stretch though, making four consecutive pars, including a testy one at the 72nd hole to close out a two-under 69.
While the win feels a little out of left field considering Kuchar finished in a tie for 57th at the Shriners event last week, it didn’t feel that way for him. His scores weren’t indicative of his play in Las Vegas, where he felt he actually played quite well.
“I was hitting it beautifully, I felt really good. It was just a matter of having some putts go in. Golf’s such a funny game, it’s hard to predict when it’s going to come around. Normally I gradually grow bit by bit, have a couple top 10s and then contend, but to have a 60th place finish and then a win is pretty amazing.”
As for Lee, who carded a final-round 65, the outright runner-up finish is his best on tour since the 2015 Tour Championship, where he tied for second. Spaun finished in a tie for third with Richy Werenski.
Like Kuchar, Lee was chasing his first win since 2015, and he had a chance right up until the final hole.
“I had no mindset, no game-plan,” Lee said of the five-shot deficit he had to overcome at the start of the day. “I’ve been hitting it good all week and I knew if I could putt half-decent I’m going to have a chance or get very close.
“I didn’t know what Matt was going to do or what other players were going to do.
“It was a bit windier than it was the first three rounds but it was still very doable. If you keep hitting it straight off the tee here you get a lot of birdie chances.”