WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - Day 5

Kisner downs Kuchar to triumph in Austin

March 27-31
Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas
$10,250,000
Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4


Kevin Kisner claimed a maiden World Golf Championships title after triumphing over Matt Kuchar in the final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Francesco Molinari overcame Lucas Bjerregaard in an all-European consolation match to finish third.

Kisner downs Kuchar to triumph in Austin, © Getty Images

© Getty Images


Kisner, who finished runner-up to Bubba Watson in this event last year, went one better at Austin Country Club with a 3&2 win over his American compatriot – making it six wins in seven matches – and in the process became the first player to lift the trophy after losing his first match of the week.

“I was thinking out there it might be the hardest match just because you have the physical aspect more than any other week. It was grueling, definitely, with the winds and the temperature today. Overall it was a long week, but I prevailed and I’m a World Golf champion.

“I just learned a lot from last year. I learned about preparation. I learned not to get too amped up for that final. You still have to come out and play golf. I don’t think either one of us played our best golf. But I drove it great all week with my Callaway driver, and it was a great week.”

That opening defeat came to Englishman Ian Poulter, whom he later beat in a play-off decider to emerge from the Group Stage, and he had to beat another Ryder Cup hero – Molinari – in the semi-final to earn his place in the decider.

Having been two down with three to play, the reigning Race to Dubai Champion birdied the 16 th and 17 th holes to bring the match down the 18 th all square, but a disappointing three-putt on the last ended the Italian’s hopes of a maiden World Golf Championships victory.


Kuchar, meanwhile, dispatched of Bjerregaard on the 18th hole in a tight semi-final match in which the Dane was never ahead but was never more than one hole down. The American’s birdie at the par five 16th put him one ahead with two to play and, although Bjerregaard held his nerve with a birdie putt at the penultimate hole to take it down the last, a pair of closing pars meant Kuchar progressed.

“It was certainly not what I’m looking for,” said Kuchar. “It’s tough to maintain the high level of play the entire tournament. You hope to do it and I feel like I’ve kind of built a game that I could rely on playing some good, steady golf.

“But I gave too many holes away. It’s one of the things I pride myself on is not ever giving holes away. I knew against Kisner I couldn’t do it, and he just plodded along and played good, steady golf, and let me make mistakes. And that was good playing by Kevin.”

Kisner downs Kuchar to triumph in Austin, © Getty Images
Francesco Molinari

© Getty Images


Both Molinari and Bjerregaard – who beat 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods in the quarter-final – could take consolation from their best respective finishes in a World Golf Championships event.

“Obviously it was a very good start and then I think we were both really struggling for energy a little bit on the back nine. It was a very long week but we tried to keep going. And I think I played very well on the front nine this afternoon, so maybe a bit of consolation after this morning,” said Molinari.

“It’s just one of those days, too many mental mistakes and some really weird shots around the greens. But all in all it’s a positive week. Obviously it’s bittersweet right now. I think going into Augusta, it’s a good week. Clearly I need to get my short game a little bit sharper than this morning, but otherwise it seems pretty good.

“It was definitely a positive week. Just a shame about this morning on the back nine. I didn’t play my best game and made too many mistakes, and kind of gave it away once, and then managed to fight my way back and then gave it away again. But it’s golf and it’s a long week, and with seven rounds it can happen to be slightly off for a few holes. So, it’s positive in general.”


Finals
Matt Kuchar USA
3&2
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Kevin Kisner USA
3rd Place
Lucas Bjerregaard DEN
4&2
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Francesco Molinari ITA
Semifinals
Matt Kuchar USA
>
1 Up
Lucas Bjerregaard DEN
Francesco Molinari ITA
1 Up
<
Kevin Kisner USA