12 November 2018: Old men and new tricks. That seems to be the mantra for November. Matt Kuchar followed in the footsteps of Lee Westwood as the two 40+ men broke a lengthy spell without a victory. Incidentally, both of them won last on 20 April 2014 and emulated each other again this Sunday. Kuchar held off a determined Danny Lee to eke out a one-stroke victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, his eighth on the PGA TOUR.
Anirban Lahiri settled for a T10 as he continues his quest for a maiden victory on the world’s biggest golf tour. The Indian shot 68 on Sunday to end the week at 16-under 268. The result should help Anirban move up from his current ranking of 142.
The golfer from Bengaluru enjoyed four rounds in the 60s at Playa del Carmen, his first since the Travelers Championship in January, Anirban finished in T9 on that occasion at 12-under 268.
Anirban looked set for a high finish after making five birdies in his first nine holes. But perhaps the scars of a burnt back nine came back to haunt him while he was on the final stretch to the clubhouse.
On Saturday, Anirban endured two bogeys and a double, even as he seemed set to make a decisive move. In the final round, Anirban did not pack so much drama into his second nine on Sunday, settling for eight pars and a lone bogey.
The bogey came at the 15th hole, where Anirban took three putts from inside 40 feet. That was to be the last real incident for the man, as he coasted with three straight pars to close out on a 68. Anirban made 65, 66 and 69 in the other three rounds.
Kuchar was far from being assured as the tournament inched towards the final stages. Having started the day with a four-stroke advantage, Kuchar was holding on to the fraying edges of it, as Lee made an impressive final round charge.
In the end, it took a par putt from three feet on the 18th to secure his long-awaited victory. “It feels extra sweet having kind of had to suffer through a year of not playing great in 2018,” said Kuchar, whose last victory before today came at the 2014 RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina. “Being four years removed since my last victory I realize how difficult it is to win on the PGA TOUR.”
Danny Lee finished at 21-under 263, riding on a spectacular 65 on Sunday to finish in second place.
J J Spaun and Richy Werenski came in third place with 66 and 67 respectively to their names. Brice Garnett finished in fifth after he too made a 66. Scott Piercy, Harold Varner III, Pat Perez and Jim Furyk finished T6 at 267.
Adam Hadwin, Cameron Champ, Aaron Wise and Whee Kim completed the top ten in the company of Anirban Lahiri.