By Jay Betsill
Matt Kuchar has oh so close the last few weeks on the PGA Tour. After a disastrous back nine on Sunday in San Antonio, he finished two shots behind Steven Bowditch at the Valero Texas Open. The following week he fell to Matt Jones, who chipped in from 42-feet for a birdie in a playoff to win the Shell Houston Open. While briefly in contention before Bubba Watson ran away with the Masters, Kuchar still finished in a tie for fifth at Augusta National.
Following a closing 64 at Harbour Town, Kuchar would be celebrating his seventh career PGA Tour victory at the RBC Heritage. He earned $1.044 million and his first title since last year’s Memorial Tournament. It was not without drama as a three-putt bogey on No. 17 was followed by a hole out from the front bunker on No. 18 to top Luke Donald by one shot.
“It’s awfully sweet to have another chance,” Kuchar said.
Notables in the field included Jim Furyk (T7,-6), Jordan Spieth (T12, -4), Charl Schwartzel (T12, -4), defending champion Graeme McDowell (T23, -2), Zach Johnson (T61, +4) and Ernie Els (TT64, +5).
Next up on the PGA Tour is the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Notables in the field include Rickie Fowler, Ernie Els, Bay Hill champion Matt Every, Retief Goosen, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose and Nick Watney.
— Michelle Wie won the LPGA LOTTE Championship for her first victory since the CN Canadian Women’s Open in 2010. Wie shot a 5-under 67 to top Angela Stanford by two shots for her first win on American soil.
“I’m just having fun out there,” said Wie, who grew up in Honolulu. “I was out there and nervous. Every time I felt nervous out there, I was looking around, I felt there was no place I’d rather be.”
— Fresh off a fourth-place finish at the Masters, Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Greater Gwinnett Championship, becoming only the third player to lead from start to finish in his debut on Champions Tour. Jimenez held off Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples.
“Of course it’s satisfaction,” Jimenez said. “The better quality the field, the more satisfied you are with the victory. All three were playing very well in the Masters. We all were in contention. That’s nice.”
— Lee Westwood had a dominating seven-shot victory this weekend at the Malaysian Open. The win ended a two-year drought for the former No. 1 player in the world. 2012 champion Louis Oosthuizen finished a distant second.
“It’s a golf course that suits my game; it’s very tight in certain areas. I played well, I putted well, and the short game is good,” Westwood said.