Playa Del Carmen, Mexico – It had been a long drought for Matt Kuchar, in fact his last victory came at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town on April 20th, 2014. Four and a half years of near misses and close calls – none bigger than the 2017 Open Championship where Kuchar was clipped by a vintage Jordan Spieth performance at Royal Birkdale. 2018 was declared a disappointment after Kuchar narrowly missed on qualifying for the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup in Paris. But after he rattled in his 3 ft putt on the 18th Sunday (for a final round 69) some relief and redemption was felt by the 40 year-old tour veteran at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. “It feels extra sweet having to kind of had to suffer through a year of not playing great in 2018,” Kuchar said. “Being four years removed since my last victory, I realize how difficult it is to win on the PGA Tour.”
Starting the final day at the Mayakoba Golf Classic with a four-shot lead was essential, since closing the deal proved tougher than Kuchar expected. After making bogey on holes 14 & 15 Kuchar made three straight pars to finish at 22 under par, one better than Danny Lee who shot a final round 65 to finish a shot back.
Kuchar opened with rounds of 64-64-65 with local club caddie David “Toucan” Ortiz on the bag (John Wood, Kuchar’s regular tour looper was attending a reunion). For Ortiz, who caddies regularly at El Camaleon Golf Club, it was a dream come true – he was in tears as he was being inundated with congratulations beside the 18th green as Kuchar signed the flag that will commemorate their victorious week together.
The win gets Kuchar back to Kapalua in January for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The Tour heads east to Kuchar’s neighborhood at Sea Island this week for the RSM McGladdery Classic.